The University of Nottingham is stepping up the fight against cancer through the creation of a new research centre bringing together leading experts to study the disease and pioneer new life-saving treatments.
As part of the establishment of the new Centre for Cancer Sciences
, Nottingham has become the first UK university to introduce a bespoke undergraduate degree specifically focused on cancer research which will train the next generation of world-class scientists to tackle the disease.
David Bates, Professor of Oncology and Director of the Centre for Cancer Sciences, said: “Cancer treatment and diagnosis has improved drastically in the last 20 years, but still half of us get cancer and a quarter of us die from it. To make a step change in outcomes for people with cancer we need innovative research, and better trained researchers, across the cancer science field – in the pharmaceutical, tech, computing and biotech industries.
"This Centre will enable the University of Nottingham to be at the forefront of this revolution in outcomes for cancer patients, harnessing all the power of a research excellent University to train, develop and inspire cancer scientists over the next few decades.”
More than 360,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed every year in the UK. New advances in diagnosis and treatment have led to a major improvement in survival, which has doubled in the past 40 years, but the disease remains one of the UK’s biggest killers.
Nottingham has a strong track record for cancer research and receives significant research funding from some of the biggest providers including the MRC, NIHR, NC3RS, Cancer Research UK, the Brain Tumour Charity, Breast Cancer Now and other research funding agencies.
Advances that have come as a result of expertise at the University of Nottingham include the Nottingham Prognostic Index (NPI), which is used by clinicians to assess the chances of breast cancer recurring in a patient and to develop a more personalised treatment approach, and the development of a new blood test to detect lung cancer up to four years earlier than other methods through its spin out company OncImmune.
Through its Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre, Nottingham experts are at the forefront of developing experimental new treatments that aim to reduce the unwanted side effects caused by traditional therapies that can lead to life-changing disabilities for some children who survive rare brain tumours.
Researcher at four physically separate University sites will coalesce into a new Centre for Cancer Sciences that will usher in a new era of collaboration to create a critical research mass and drive new breakthroughs from bench to bedside.
The centre will enhance the University’s particular research strengths in investigating how tumours interact with their surroundings, including cancer immunology, the way in which cancer spreads throughout the body, and how tumours fight back against anti-cancer treatments.
The new centre will offer brand new state-of-the-art laboratories, research equipment and facilities within a new £23 million extension to the University’s existing Centre for Biomedical Sciences on its University Park campus, due to be completed in September 2019.
The research groups that will be co-located as part of the centre will include the Nottingham Breast Cancer Research Centre, Cancer Biology, the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre, Translational DNA Repair, Molecular Pathology, Tumour Immunology, and Haematology.
Bespoke undergraduate degree
The creation of a new bespoke three-year undergraduate BSc in Cancer Sciences will aim to equip the researchers of the future with the skills and knowledge needed to understand the disease from its basic biology through to the translation of research into new therapeutics.
The course will offer a combination of traditional lectures, practical training and tutorials with problem-oriented learning and skills workshops and a strong research core running through the programme.
The centre is developing links with leading cancer research laboratories around the world, particularly in the US, Australia and Europe and students will be offered the opportunity to take an extra year, which will include a placement in a research laboratory or in industry to achieve an MSci in Cancer Sciences.
Kevin Gaston, Professor of Cancer Sciences in the Cancer Biology Research Group, is the Course Director. He said: ‘This new innovative course will give our students a deep understanding of the causes of cancer and the molecular basis of new and established cancer treatments. It will enable them to pursue a range of careers in industry and academia such as cancer research, the management of clinical trials, or science communication.”
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Notes to editors:
The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage, consistently ranked among the world's top 100. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our 44,000 students - Nottingham was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, was awarded gold in the TEF 2017 and features in the top 20 of all three major UK rankings. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally.
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