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Major Advance for Prostate Cancer Research


Over £1/2 million has been raised by The Prostate Project, a Surrey based charity, to create a new centre for prostate cancer research in Guildford. The Prostate Project, the University of Surrey and the Royal Surrey County Hospital have today signed an agreement where The Prostate Project will donate £550,000 to establish a Chair of Urological Oncology. The post, and its supporting research team, will be based at the Postgraduate Medical School at the University of Surrey, which is also providing funding. It will carry out world class research into prostate cancer. The new professor will divide his or her time between research at the Postgraduate Medical School and clinical work at the Royal Surrey County Hospital. The title for the post will be The Prostate Project Chair of Urological Oncology.

Guildford offers a unique location for prostate cancer research because of the close proximity and relationship between a major District General Hospital and the University. The increasingly successful Royal Surrey County Hospital has been selected as a Centre of Excellence in the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. It has a team of highly committed urology and oncology consultants who are international leaders in their fields and are specialists in all the leading edge technologies. It is also part of an active network of local NHS Trusts.

The University of Surrey is recognised for its world class multidisciplinary research and has been awarded Queen¹s Anniversary Prizes for higher and further education. Medical science research has received a five-star rating in the Government¹s Research Assessment exercise. The new research facility will become an integral part of the Postgraduate Medical School¹s team and its work fits well with the School¹s focus on clinical conditions affecting a large proportion of the population. It will be located in the brand new PGMS building scheduled for opening at the beginning of June.

The investment by The Prostate Project and the University of Surrey into prostate cancer research represents a very significant increase in the national level of funding for such research. Until recently, this area has been grossly underfunded and even now only attracts £4 million per annum from the Department of Health. This is a quarter of that spent on breast cancer research.

There are three major areas of prostate cancer research:

- Finding the causes of prostate cancer
- Diagnosing prostate cancer and distinguishing between aggressive and benign cancers
- Improving prostate cancer treatments and minimising their side effects

Research in Guildford, with its strong clinical emphasis is expected to focus on the latter two objectives. Interest has already been expressed from candidates suitably qualified for the Chair and the recruitment process is underway. It is expected that the new professor will start this autumn.

The majority of the funds raised by The Prostate Project for this venture have come from a small number of highly committed personal and business donors. In particular, The Prostate Project wishes to thank ICAP plc and the MAN Group Charitable Trustees for their very substantial donations. Fund raising will continue in order to underwrite monies promised but not yet guaranteed and to pay for research assistants needed to reinforce the research team.

The initiative by The Prostate Project and the University of Surrey has been welcomed by leading urologists and oncologists and their professional bodies. Roger Kirby, Honorary Professor at St. George¹s Hospital, said ‘This is a marvellous endeavour which has involved a tremendous amount of hard work in raising money for a vitally important cause. There is an enormous need for more research in the field of prostate cancer which affects 31,000 men and kills over 10,000 every year. I have the highest hopes that this new position will push forward frontiers in understanding and treating prostate cancer, relieving the huge burden which rests on so many patients.¹

The Prostate Project has been active for six years. In that time it has established itself as a leading charity supporting the Royal Surrey and Frimley Park Hospitals. It actively promotes awareness of prostate cancer and provides patient support to prostate cancer sufferers, their friends and families.
It has raised over £700,000, in addition to this research funding exercise, which has been used to provide equipment and staff at the urology departments of the two hospitals and also to start a hospital based clinical research programme. This support was a significant contribution towards the Royal Surrey¹s selection as a Centre of Excellence.

The Project is run by a Board of Trustees composed of senior professionals from the medical and business world; everyone actively contributing to the Project. All funds donated to the Project are applied to prostate cancer; the Trustees themselves absorb administration costs.

A sub-group within the Project, The Prostate Project Foundation, was set up to raise the necessary funding and to manage the interface between the Project and the new research team. Members of The Foundation include Trustees of The Prostate Project and six consultants, John Davies (Urology, RSCH), Chris Eden (Urology, RSCH), Robert Laing (Oncology, RSCH), Stephen Langley (Urology, RSCH), Paul Miller (Urology, Surrey & Sussex NHS Trust) and Bruce Montgomery (Urology, Frimley Park Hospital). This team will ensure the integration of existing prostate cancer research with the new facility and allocate new Project-raised funds.

Stuart Miller | alfa
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