Liverpool among new breed of super cancer centres
Liverpool will today (Wednesday) become one of the first links in a unique
chain of Cancer Research UK Centres to be launched round the country.
These cancer centres will draw together world class research and areas of medical
expertise to provide the best possible results for cancer patients nationwide.
As one of the first Cancer Research UK Centres, Liverpool will set the pace
for national and international progress in cancer of the pancreas, head and
neck and blood. It will also concentrate on pioneering the latest techniques
in surgery, radiotherapy and the treatment of children's cancers.
Collaboration is the key to the success of the Centre which will focus on a
better understanding of how cancers start and behave, how to develop better
treatments with fewer side effects and how to tackle cancer in low-income communities
where survival is lowest.
Cancer Research UK already supports research in Liverpool but is set to increase
its contribution to around £3m a year to help develop the Centre.
Professor John Neoptolemos, who is a surgeon at the Royal Liverpool University
Hospital, head of the University of Liverpool's cancer studies and chair of
the Centre's board, said:
"Cancer Research UK has managed to bring together a variety of eminent
researchers and clinicians to collaborate and work together to improve the
lives and extend the survival of Merseyside's cancer patients.
This area of the country has poor survival in a number of cancers. By
launching this project the charity has attracted an impressive field of expertise
to benefit the people of Liverpool.
One of Cancer Research UK’s goals is to invest more money in treating
patients who have what we call the "neglected" cancers where survival
is poor such as pancreatic cancer. This work will be happening on your doorstep
in Liverpool and you will see the benefits in survival."
The Centre aims to be a world leader in developing treatments tailored to individual
cancer patients based on understanding the biology of the disease and how that
varies among patients. It brings together the Royal Liverpool University Hospital,
Clatterbridge Centre of Oncology NHS Trust, University of Liverpool, the City
Council and the Merseyside and Cheshire Cancer Task Force.
Helen Yorke, 48, is one of Professor Neoptolemos's success stories. After surgery
for pancreatic cancer in August 2007 Helen had the opportunity to take part
in a chemotherapy trial being run in Liverpool. Now just 18 months later Helen
is feeling great and is back at work as a data entry specialist.
"When I had the chance to go on the trial I was apprehensive,"
said Helen who is married with two sons and lives in Lowton. "A third
of the patients were to have no chemotherapy, a third to have the standard
chemo and the rest were to have a new kind. To start with I half hoped the
computer would allocate me to have none but I was given the chance to have
the new treatment and now I am so glad I did.
I was born in Liverpool and my life was saved in Liverpool. Everyone
involved in my treatment has been absolutely fantastic. I think I’m
one of their star patients."
Tony Bell, chief executive of the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, said:
"This centre puts Liverpool and its strength in research and pioneering
healthcare firmly on the map. As a regional cancer centre, we have some of
the country’s best medical expertise at our fingertips. This centre
ensures that they - along with the people of Liverpool - are at the cutting
edge of research and the development of new tests and treatments for cancer."
Darren Hurrell, chief executive of Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology NHS foundation
"Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology is committed to the development
of world-class cancer services and we believe working in partnership will
enable us to provide the best possible results for cancer patients.
Cancer Research UK's Liverpool Centre will provide medical experts with
the facility to carry out pioneering research that will enable them to increase
their understanding of cancers and research better treatments with fewer side
This is one of the first Cancer Research UK Centres and we are delighted
to be involved for the simple reason that it will bring huge benefits to patients,
and patient care is at the heart of everything we do."
Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said:
"Funding these centres of excellence is one of the charity's priorities
and will enable us to work towards the goals we have set to improve the treatment
and survival of cancer patients. But we continue to welcome the generous donations
we receive from the public to ensure we can continue to build on what we have
Cancer Research UK plans to launch more centres around the UK during 2009.