Newcastle’s Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) will receive up to £2,719,297 over the next five years to help doctors and scientists find the cancer treatments of the future for both adults and children.
The funding has been made possible by a partnership between Cancer Research UK, the National Institute for Health and Care Research and the Little Princess Trust specifically for children’s cancers.
Newcastle is part of a network of 17 ECMCs across the UK, funded by Cancer Research UK, which deliver clinical trials of promising new treatments. Since 2007, when the network was established, approximately 30,000 patients have taken part in 2,100 trials.
The funding will allow new, experimental treatments – including immunotherapies – for a wide variety of cancers to be developed, as well as improving existing treatments.
ECMCs work in conjunction with local NHS facilities to provide access to cutting-edge cancer treatments. Testing these treatments helps to establish new ways of detecting and monitoring the disease and evaluating how it responds to the treatment.
The ECMC is a partnership between Newcastle University and Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Newcastle ECMC lead, Prof Ruth Plummer, said:
“We are delighted Newcastle has secured this funding.
“Clinical trials are crucial to new and improved treatments becoming adopted as standard treatments by the NHS and this funding will allow us to further advance how we can treat cancer effectively.
“Thousands of patients have been provided with access to new drugs and therapies through the Newcastle ECMC and this funding will benefit people with cancer in the North East and beyond.”
One in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer within our lifetimes so finding new effective treatments is vital.*
Cancer Research UK has been integral in aiding the discovery of many new cancer treatments such as the drug tamoxifen, for which Cancer Research UK funded phase four clinical trials to validate it as an effective treatment for breast cancer.
Tamoxifen is now a mainstay treatment for people with oestrogen receptor positive breast cancer and appears on the World Health Organisation’s list of essential drugs for the disease.
As a result of tamoxifen, nearly two-thirds of people diagnosed with breast cancer this decade are predicted to survive their disease for 20 years or more.
Executive Director of Research and Innovation at Cancer Research UK Dr Iain Foulkes said:
“We are proud to be supporting an expansion of our successful ECMC network, bringing together vast medical and scientific expertise to translate the latest scientific discoveries from the lab into the clinic.
“The ECMC network is delivering the cancer treatments of the future, bringing new hope to people affected by cancer. The trials taking place today will give the next generation the best possible chance of beating cancer.
“The adult and paediatric ECMC networks will offer clinical trials for many different types of cancer. Researchers will be working to find new treatments and tackle the unique challenges presented by cancers in children and young people. Working with our partners, this new funding will bring hope for more effective, personalised therapies for everyone affected by cancer.”
Chief Executive of the Little Princess Trust Phil Brace said:
“Cancer remains the leading cause of death amongst children and young people, and we must change that.â¯
“Since 2016, The Little Princess Trust has been funding research with the aim to offer more targeted and less toxic treatments for children and young people with cancer. We’ve made some good progress, but we want to do so much more.â¯â¯
“We will achieve so much more for children and young people by working together. We’re delighted to be joining forces with Cancer Research UK and NIHR to expand funding for the paediatric ECMC network.”
Chief Executive of the NIHR Professor Lucy Chappell said:â¯
“The ECMC Network is a vital strategic investment in the UK’s cancer research community, bringing together top scientists and clinicians to tackle some of the biggest scientific challenges in cancer and improve outcomes for patients.
“Through this route, we enable more people to join trials that could help them. The ECMC Network will give access to brand new experimental treatments for patients, including children and young people, paving the way for these treatments to be used in the clinic one day. This is a crucial part of NIHR’s work, and enables more people to join trials that might help them. We are proud to be partnering with Cancer Research UK and the Little Princess Trust in funding this network.
“The UK has considerable strengths in cancer research. We will continue to back life-saving research for the thousands of adult and children patients affected by cancer every year.”
Minister of State for Health Helen Whately said:
“A cancer diagnosis can be devastating but the earlier the diagnosis, the better the chance to treat it and beat it. We are already picking up more cancers early by screening but we can do even better.
“This partnership between Cancer Research UK, the National Institute for Health and Care Research and the Little Princess Trustâ¯will fund innovative trials that could lead to new life-saving treatments.â¯
“Every life lost to cancer is devastating and I’m pleased that across the country, people will be given renewed hope – especiallyâ¯children and young people – that we can beat this awful disease.”