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Liverpool to be Global Cancer Research Hub

Liverpool is to benefit from a multi-million pound development in cancer services and research activity with the merger of Merseyside’s three biggest cancer service providers.

The University of Liverpool, the Royal Liverpool University Hospital (RLUH) and the Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology (CCO) are combining their cancer resources and facilities to provide better quality treatments for a broader range of cancers including head and neck, lung and lymphoma and enable international clinical trials of new cancer therapies.

It is planned that the merger will lead to the establishment of a Liverpool Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (LECMC) to facilitate global clinical trials of new cancer therapies at their earliest stages (Stage I and II). This will allow for new drugs to be tested on a small group of patients, before being trialled with larger groups and internationally.

The centre, which will be funded by £750,000 from Cancer Research UK, will include the addition of six beds for cancer patients at RLUH to participate in cancer drugs trials as well as a new Chair of Medical Oncology, who will oversee the trials and related cancer research projects. The LECMC’s resources will also be accessible to external users in science and industry.

The LECMC will also be supported by a £1.1million transfer of six leading cancer specialists from the Clatterbridge Cancer Research Trust on Wirral to the University of Liverpool Cancer Research Centre (ULCRC). The team, led by Professor Ross Sibson, will work on cancer studies in areas such as breast cancer and neurological malignancies.

Professor John Caldwell, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, said: “Liverpool plays a vital role in the development of new treatments for cancer – 15.2% of cancer patients in the area are recruited to trials – one of the highest rates in the UK. The merge with our cancer research partners will allow us to double the number of patients to early phase clinical trials as well as increase the capacity for treating cancer patients.”

The developments are part of an overall £20 million investment in cancer research and follow the recent launch of the University’s School of Cancer Studies – a newly created department focusing entirely on research for new cancer treatments and therapies, incorporating the former Divisions of Surgery and Oncology, Haematology; and Pathology.

Joanna Robotham | alfa
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