The city of London will become a world leading hub for cancer biotherapeutics research and treatment, with a £14 million investment from Cancer Research UK.
The new Cancer Research UK City of London Centre brings together world-leading researchers from UCL, King’s College London, Queen Mary University of London and the Francis Crick Institute. It will become a global centre of excellence for biotherapeutics.
“By collaborating creatively with our university and hospital partners, we will secure the UK’s position as a world-leader in cancer biotherapeuticS”
Cancer patients over large parts of the city will have the opportunity to take part in research as part of their treatment. Around 14 million people, in London and other areas of the country, are covered by the NHS trusts within UCL Partners and Kings Health Partners, and will have access to the latest innovations in biological cancer therapies.
Biotherapeutics are any type of treatment that is produced by, involves, or manipulates living cells. These therapies are based on biological processes in cells, which we can engineer to help fight cancer. For example, immunotherapy has transformed our ability to treat some types of cancer, harnessing the body’s own powerful immune system to eliminate cancer cells.
The City of London Centre will gather expertise from each partner institution including specialists in imaging, clinical trials and tumour evolution. Research will span all cancer types, including a focus on childhood cancers. There has been recent progress treating children with immunotherapies and researchers hope to extend this success to even more patients so that everyone, regardless of age or cancer type, can benefit from the latest innovations in treatment.
In addition to accelerating the development of some of the most promising cancer research studies in the capital, the centre will also provide multiple new opportunities for collaboration and training. This is the first time that these leading London institutions have partnered to tackle cancer on such a large scale.
Dr Iain Foulkes, Cancer Research UK’s executive director of research and innovation, said: “Our investment represents a major vote of confidence in London’s place at the heart of global biomedical research and is predicted to bring enormous benefit to the city’s residents, businesses and hospitals.
“The research focus of the Cancer Research UK City of London Centre will lay the foundation for the future of precision medicine, where existing treatments are combined with, or even replaced entirely by the latest biological therapies, with the hope of achieving lasting cures for more cancer patients.”
Professor Tariq Enver, centre lead at UCL, said: “There have already been huge advances in biotherapeutics, many led from our Centre, and there’s enormous potential to transform how we approach the hardest to treat cancers like brain tumours and lung cancer.
“London’s hospitals will also become flagship centres for treating patients with these new biological therapies, setting the standard for healthcare providers all over the world.”
“We need physicists, chemists, engineers and mathematicians – researchers from many different disciplines – to come together to tackle the disease in new and innovative ways. The Cancer Research UK City of London Centre will be a catalyst for this scientific collaboration.”
Sir Paul Nurse, director of the Francis Crick Institute, said: “By collaborating creatively with our university and hospital partners, we will secure the UK’s position as a world-leader in cancer biotherapeutics, bringing enormous benefits to cancer patients and their families.”
Professor Peter Parker, centre lead at King’s College London, said: “Biotherapies in the form of immune interventions are revolutionising cancer treatments in some cancer patients. These exceptional accomplishments bring a compelling need to dig deeper into the underlying principles that bring success to these approaches, in order to develop a wider spectrum of interventions that deliver improved outcomes to a much greater population of cancer patients.”