An ambitious vision to place Leeds at the forefront of cancer research worldwide is officially set today.
The University partners with Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust create the Leeds Cancer Research Centre, a new venture bringing together experts from a variety of disciplines including biological, physical, engineering and clinical sciences; clinical practice and innovative health interventions, to address some of the greatest challenges facing cancer research today.
The Center’s goal is to transform the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer; tackling cancer-related health inequalities and improving patient outcomes in Leeds, Yorkshire and around the world.
The Leeds Cancer Research Center will enable us to accelerate the detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer by leveraging our considerable strengths and fostering closer relationships.
Although cancer survival in the UK has doubled over the past four decades, only 50% of patients survive 10 years or more. More than a third of cancers are preventable and another third can be cured if detected early and treated correctly.
In Yorkshire, more than 31,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, with the third worst outcomes in England. Almost a fifth of the population in the Leeds City area live in areas of severe social poverty where cancer is the leading cause of death, with lung cancer accounting for more than half of the cases.
Around 40% of people in these communities who develop cancer are diagnosed at a late stage – and are 50% more likely to die from the disease than those living in less deprived areas of Leeds.
The problems are expected to worsen due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with more cases being diagnosed at a late stage due to limitations in cancer screening and fewer patients visiting their GP during lockdown.
Accelerating cancer care
Professor Simone Buitendijk, Vice-Chancellor of the university, said: “Our vision to help shape a better future for all is based on collaboration, using challenge-driven research to tackle the inequalities experienced by people both locally and around the world.
“The Leeds Cancer Research Center will allow us to accelerate the detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer by exploiting our considerable strengths in structural and chemical biology, clinical research, physical sciences and engineering, and by fostering closer links between the clinical community, research and patients. ”
Professor Simone Buitendijk, Vice-Chancellor
The University of Leeds is already home to some of the most advanced facilities in the world, including the STORM laboratory, where engineers are developing robotics to enable intelligently guided diagnosis and treatment of hard-to-reach cancers. In the Astbury Center for Structural Molecular Biology scientists are using cutting-edge technology to discover new chemical tools that accelerate the development of new, less toxic drug treatments.
the Leeds Lung Health Check The study, led by Leeds University Hospitals respiratory consultant Dr Mat Callister, diagnosed more than 200 cancers early, enabling patients to receive curative treatment through surgery or radiotherapy. Founded by Cancer Research in Yorkshireit aims to tackle health inequalities in Leeds, taking mobile units to shopping malls in areas with high deprivation and prevalence of smoking, where people at risk of lung cancer can be scanned and the disease, if present, can be diagnosed early.
And an international team of scientists from the UK, Canada, US, Netherlands and Spain, led by Professor Phil Quirke, are working on a £20m project. Cancer research in the UK Cancer Grand Challenges project that discovered that gut microorganisms are not only capable of initiating bowel cancer, but could also be used to provide a more effective bowel cancer screening test that would significantly reduce the number of patients to undergo a colonoscopy.
Leeds at the forefront
The new center is led by clinical director David Sebag-Montefiore, professor of oncology at the university Medicine School and Consultant Clinical Oncologist at Leeds University Hospitals, alongside Deputy Directors Richard Bayliss, Professor of Molecular Medicine at School of Molecular and Cellular Biologyand Pietro Valdastri, Professor of Robotics and Autonomous Systems at the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering.
Professor Sebag-Montefiore said: “Our vision is for Leeds to be at the international forefront in the fight against cancer.
“The Center builds on the city’s rich heritage of a century of cancer research, from the founding of the Radium Center at Leeds General Infirmary in 1929 and the discovery of tamoxifen in the 1970s as a highly effective treatment for patients with breast cancer.
“Today Leeds produces cutting-edge research in structural and chemical biology, cancer pathology, clinical trials, blood and bowel cancers, and is home to centers of excellence for radiotherapy and brain cancer research.
“The establishment of the Leeds Cancer Research Center comes at a crucial time. The pandemic reinforces the need for cheaper, safer and more effective treatments for patients, and the need to reconfigure our healthcare system to ensure safe and effective cancer treatment during future viral outbreaks.
Professor David Sebag-Montefiore, Clinical Director of Leeds Cancer Research Center
Dr Phil Wood, Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Chief Executive of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT), said: “LTHT fully supports the ambition and scope of this exciting new venture. Cancer diagnosis and treatment is a crucial part of our clinical services for the people of Leeds, Yorkshire and the Humber and beyond, and our partnership with the university is vital for research and innovation in our region. and nationally.
“We very much welcome the focus on improving patient outcomes in Leeds and tackling cancer-related health inequalities. We would like to thank our partners, the University of Leeds and Yorkshire Cancer Research, for helping to give Leeds, as a city, the opportunity to be at the forefront of cancer treatment.
Adam Nelson, Professor of Chemical Biology at the University of Leeds and Head of Cancer Training at Leeds Cancer Research Centre, said: “The Center will provide an exceptional interdisciplinary research environment and culture to train cancer researchers. of tomorrow. It will equip a new generation of diverse research leaders by instilling a culture of collaboration and empowering them with the expertise, tools, technologies, leadership and ambassadorial skills essential to become the cancer leaders of the future.
The Center will officially launch in a virtual event on Friday, February 4. world cancer day also takes place on this date, and this year’s theme is Close the Care Gap, focusing on creating more equitable access to cancer care – a key strategic objective of Leeds Cancer Research Centre.
Research Excellence in Leeds
- The £7 million Oncology engineering research project led by Professor Richard Hall, a medical engineering expert from the School of Mechanical Engineering, is developing a new imaging and keyhole surgery approach for the treatment of secondary bone tumors in the spine.
- The Doctoral Training Center in artificial intelligence for medical care and diagnosis trains a new generation of researchers.
- CRUK RadNet Center of Excellence in Leeds combines artificial intelligence, magnetic resonance imaging and new drugs with radiation therapy to target cancers of the pelvis, liver and brain. It is part of the national RadNet network.
- The Leeds CRUK clinical trials unit is doing groundbreaking work to identify better, less toxic treatments for patients with blood cancers and treatments involving radiotherapy.
- Scientists in the Astbury Center for Structural Molecular Biology using structural and imaging approaches to understand the molecular and cellular basis of cancer and uncover new pathways to future therapies and diagnostics.
- Researchers in the STORM laboratory are developing a new generation of intelligent robotic endoscopic instruments to enable earlier diagnosis, wider use of cancer screening and more effective treatment.
- Leeds is a Tessa Jowell Center of Excellence for brain cancer research and care.