Cambridge: supporting our centre of excellence

Last updated: 19/06/2012

What is this project about?  

The Cambridge Cancer Research UK Centre is part of a wider national network of centres of excellence in cancer. These centres are not actual buildings, but  partnerships that work on a local level with universities, NHS Trusts, cancer networks, charities and on a national level with the government and industry. The Centres deliver world-class research on a variety of topics, and are working to improve patient care and build relationships with the local community to raise awareness of cancer and its symptoms.

 

 
 
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Why support this project?

Our Centre in Cambridge brings together leading scientists, doctors and nurses from across the city – including from our Cambridge Research Institute (CRI), the University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. 

The close collaboration between lab researchers and doctors in the clinic has helped the Centre foster new approaches to the challenges of preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer, as well as ensuring that research discoveries benefit people with cancer as quickly as possible.

By supporting the Cambridge Centre of Cancer Excellence, you are helping to:

  • Fund their groundbreaking research into pancreatic, oesophageal, breast, lung, ovarian, blood and prostate cancers.
     
  • Support their vital cancer prevention research, focusing on lung cancer initially and also their cancer detection research, exploring the potential of cutting edge imaging techniques to diagnose cancer earlier.    

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What research projects are being carried out?

Lots of exciting research is currently going on at the Cambridge Centre. Here are some examples of the projects currently going on:
 

  • Professor Kevin Brindle – an expert in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is finding out if this cutting-edge technology can monitor how well people with a variety of different cancer types are responding to treatment.

    This could revolutionise the way researchers test new cancer drugs as they will be able to see the effect of the drug in "real-time" It may also help doctors to establish which treatment works best for individual patients. Techniques that help doctors choose the most appropriate treatments for their patients and monitor how they respond will help improve the quality of life and chances of survival of people with cancer.
     
  • Dr David Tuveson and his team are hunting for new ways to treat pancreatic cancer. Every day, 22 people are diagnosed with this disease  – one of the most difficult cancers to treat with only around 3% of people surviving for 5 years or more. Understanding how cells in the pancreas go wrong and develop into cancer is a crucial step towards developing new treatments that can help to save lives, as it may reveal new ways to treat the disease.

    They are testing a new treatment which targets a molecule called Notch. The drug, that blocks the action of the Notch molecule, has shown promising results. Dr Tuveson now plans to test a similar drug in people with pancreatic cancer. His work could reveal new and more effective treatments for this hard-to-treat disease.
     
  • Dr Rebecca Fitzgerald is leading a trial of a new screening test to detect a condition called Barrett’s oesophagus, which can slightly increase the risk of oesophageal (foodpipe) cancer.

    The only test available for this condition is quite invasive, and doctors are concerned that people with Barrett’s are not being diagnosed. The new test involves swallowing a capsule that, after a few minutes, dissolves and expands into a mesh "sponge". The sponge is pulled back up the foodpipe using a string, taking some cells from the oesophagus with it as it goes. The "sponge ball" is sent to the lab where scientists look for signs of Barrett’s oesophagus. If successful in this trial, this test could become a new, easy screening tool to identify people with Barrett’s who need treatment earlier, helping to prevent the disease becoming more serious.

    Preventing ‘higher risk’ people from developing oesophageal cancer, or diagnosing and treating it at an early stage, will ultimately help to improve the outlook and survival of this disease.    

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What difference can you make?

By contributing to Cambridge Centre of Cancer Excellence, you are helping us fund groundbreaking research to discover new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat a range of cancers.  

Your money will also help researchers to develop cutting-edge techniques that will help advance their understanding of cancer and to develop new treatments.

Your support will help us make sure that new treatments get to patients as quickly as possible and allow us to increase the awareness of cancer in the local area. Together, this work could help us save lives. 


Taking on the challenge: climbing Everest

Phil Purdy has a love of adventure and a determination to help beat cancer.

Latest update: Everest conquered

Phil Purdy on Cho OyuOn Friday 25 May 2012, Phil successfully reached the summit of Mount Everest.

He is now back home safe and well with his family in West Yorkshire.

During his adventure, Phil kept a blog documenting his adventure to raise funds for us.

His blog gives a fascinating insight into his incredible challenge, following the highs and lows, the breathtaking views, all accompanied by the many message of support sent to him on his gruelling ten week journey.

Background to Phil's challenge

In 2009, after 18 months of planning and training, Phil scaled Cho Oyu with his friend Jeff Crooke - the sixth highest mountain in the world (8,201m), just 20km away from Mount Everest in the Himalayas.

By doing so, they managed to raise over £100,000 for Cancer Research UK to support research into bladder cancer.

From the top of Cho Oyu, which took them 45 gruelling days to summit, Phil could see Everest in the distance. The seed for his next challenge was then sown.

Phil will leave in March 2012 to climb to the top of the world. Following Hillary and Tenzing's route via the South Col, it will take around 72 days to make the Everest ascent to the summit at 8,850m, allowing for acclimatisation to the treacherous conditions that include the debilitating effects of lack of oxygen.

This time Phil has chosen to raise money for research into oesophageal and pancreatic cancers as people close to him have recently been touched by these diseases.

Phil, of Brighouse in West Yorkshire, who lost his father to lung cancer in 2002, said: "It's my ambition to climb Everest and it's Cancer Research UK's ambition to beat cancer. Both challenges take a great deal of stamina, team work and the support of many.

By supporting Cancer Research UK I'm hoping to help some amazing research make a real difference and give others the chance to make and meet their own ambitions."