£1.5 million investment aims to unlock the secret workings of cancer in Wales
07 Mar 2013
A Welsh cancer charity has announced a major £1.5 million grant to the Wales Cancer Bank to fund pioneering new research over the next five years.
Cancer Research Wales, the only independent Welsh cancer charity, made the announcement at its symposium, ‘Toward Personalised Cancer Treatments’, held at the SWALEC stadium in Cardiff and hosted by broadcaster Sian Lloyd.
Launched in 2003, the Wales Cancer Bank has since seen thousands of Welsh cancer patients donating tissue and blood for research at hospitals across Wales.
The major financial investment from the charity will kick-start the next phase of exciting research into thousands of tissue samples collected by the Wales Cancer Bank over the last 9 years; allowing cancer research scientists to make better-informed treatment decisions and tailor individual cancer treatments.
Specifically, cancer research scientists will be looking back at the molecular characterisation of the tumours in a number of common cancers stored at the Wales Cancer Bank to discover ‘molecular fingerprints’, known as biomarkers.
Speaking about the research aims, Professor Malcolm Mason, Cancer Research Wales Professor of Clinical Oncology and Director of the Wales Cancer Bank said: “Cancer is a diverse disease and targeting of treatment in the future is likely to require an understanding of how the various molecular targets we have identified work together or against each other.
“The focus of cancer research now concentrates on those patients who need more tailored treatment using drugs that target particular pathways that make cancers more aggressive.
“This funding from Cancer Research Wales is vital in helping us work towards identifying which patients can be treated appropriately with conventional cancer therapy and which should be selected for tailored treatment.
“Such progress is only possible through the kind donation of tissue by the people of Wales, ensuring that the transition of science from laboratory to bedside is both rapid and fully realised.”
Cancer Research Wales annually spends over £2million on research in Wales, currently funding 24 PhD students and seven post-doctoral research scientists, as well as allowing Welsh-based oncologists to take part in research.
Liz Andrews, Cancer Research Wales Charity Director said: “We are extremely proud of our long-standing relationship with the Wales Cancer Bank and honored to be a key stakeholder in such a critical project.
“The vast majority of this latest grant has been raised by the people of Wales, through our charity shops, sponsored fundraising events and by generous legacies from our supporters.”
“It is only through this continued generosity and support of the public that Cancer Research Wales is able to fund such research, set to directly benefit lives around the world as well as in our local communities.”