06 October 2008
Sheffield awarded £2 million to help fight cancer
Cancer research at the University of Sheffield has been given a £2 million cash boost, following a grant from several funders, including Cancer Research UK. The grant is part of a nationwide initiative that will see the development and introduction of the latest imaging technologies to help advances in basic and clinical cancer research.
The Sheffield grant will fund a team of scientists in the University's School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who will use existing imaging technologies to develop new methods to investigate blood and oxygen flow in tumours. The potential benefits for cancer patients include development of new drugs which will be more effective in targeting tumours by starving them of blood and hence the oxygen which they need to survive.
Imaging equipment used by the Sheffield team will include machinery that allows scientists to watch cells in action by injecting specialised agents into a patient's body. They also hope to use scanning techniques that can provide whole body images so they can see where cancers have spread and what would be the most effective treatment.
Sheffield is one of many centres to benefit from the funding. Overall, Cancer Research UK will invest up to £30 million and the EPSRC will contribute £15 million to help establish the UK as a world leader in cancer imaging research. This large investment, which includes £3 million from the Medical Research Council (MRC) and at least £1.3 million from the National Institute for Health Research, will help improve the detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
Professor Martyn Paley, joint lead scientist for the University of Sheffield cancer imaging programme grant, said: "This grant puts Sheffield at the forefront of cancer imaging within the UK. Only a handful of groups worldwide have access to the technology which we will install through this grant. It will encourage collaborations within the University and within the NHS trusts in Sheffield who already have an extensive network or services to provide care for cancer patients in the Sheffield
He added: "We are hoping that the research will lead to new understanding of the detailed factors which control how cancers invade and survive in the body and in teaching us how to shut off the blood supplies which feed tumours and allow them to grow."
Professor David Delpy, chief executive of the EPSRC, said: "Such a large investment in this exciting and extremely important area of research is great news. These centres will bring together scientists, engineers and clinicians interested in all aspects of imaging research, speeding up advances in new technologies and benefiting patients too."
Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: "Imaging is fast becoming one of the most effective means of detecting cancer early and of determining which treatment works for which patient. Cancer Research UK has identified imaging research as a priority and we believe this substantial investment over the next five years will reap many benefits. Our partnership with the EPSRC, MRC and NIHR will help us achieve our aim of improving the detection and diagnosis of cancer."