LIVERPOOL scientists and doctors are set to receive a major cash boost for research into cancer.

Leading research charity Cancer Research UK and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) plan to invest nearly £1.5m over the next five years into ground-breaking work at the Liverpool Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)*.

In Liverpool, the ECMC is a collaboration between The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust, the Cancer Research UK Liverpool Cancer Trials Unit and scientists and researchers at The University of Liverpool.

The doctors, nurses and scientists in Liverpool are devoting their time to researching and developing innovative, more effective cancer treatments. Their specialist areas include pancreatic cancer, blood cancers and studying how drugs work.

The ECMC gives people with cancer access to cutting-edge treatments by testing new ways of detecting and monitoring the disease and how it responds to treatment through early phase clinical trials.

Professor Dan Palmer, Centre Lead and Consultant Medical Oncologist at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, said: ‘We are very proud that Liverpool has been awarded this funding and ECMC status. Over the next five years we will increase the number of clinical trials we’re running and this investment means we will be able to continue our work in developing new cancer drugs – getting discoveries from the laboratory to clinical trials in patients and learning as much as possible from our patients to initiate new research.

“This award represents a critical investment in the research infrastructure at Liverpool, equipping us with the key laboratory and clinical tools needed to advance the understanding and treatment of cancer for the benefit of people in Liverpool and beyond. It will be used to support essential posts in the ECMC – such as research nurses, data managers, trial co-ordinators and the processing of patient samples – so that we can help beat cancer sooner.”

Skin cancer survivor Justine Sheils from Mahgull welcomed the news and said: “This is a fantastic endorsement for the hard work of our doctors, nurses and scientists in Liverpool. I feel incredibly proud that so much money is being invested here and will make a difference for future generations affected by cancer.”

The ECMCs aim to bring better treatments to cancer patients in the UK through both the adult and children’s network of Centres. They are hubs where promising cancer treatments – including small molecule drugs, surgery, immunotherapy, and vaccines – are safely tested through clinical trials.

Over the last year researchers have worked hard to increase the access to clinical trials for patients from Liverpool and the surrounding area.

Andrew Cannell, Chief Executive of The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust welcomed the announcement.

He said: “We are delighted to be working with leading experts from The University of Liverpool and the Cancer Research UK Liverpool Cancer Trials Unit.

“This news illustrates the commitment of the Trust to making ground breaking research available closer to our patients as part of our plans to transform cancer care.

“It is also testament to the work done by Professor Palmer and the team at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre.”

University of Liverpool Vice-Chancellor Janet Beer, said: “This award is a recognition of our research and will help the Liverpool ECMC  pioneer new treatments for cancer patients, giving them a brighter future. It also means that patients in our region are amongst the first in the UK to trial revolutionary treatments.

“We are very proud of the team of Liverpool cancer doctors led by Professor Dan Palmer who secured this prestigious award.”

Every year around 2,600 people are diagnosed with cancer in Liverpool.* and around 1,200 people die of the disease in the city every year.**

Jane Bullock, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for the North West, said: “This award is recognition of the fantastic research taking place in Liverpool.

“One in two of us will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in our lives – so it’s reassuring to know that, thanks to our supporters, Cancer Research UK is able to fund some of the best and most promising research here, in Liverpool, to help more people survive.

“Survival has doubled since the early 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress – but every step our doctors, nurses and scientists take relies on donations from the public and the tireless fundraising of our supporters.”

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