Northern Institute for Cancer Research

News Item

Scientists awarded £5m for cancer research

A group of scientists in Newcastle have been awarded £5 million from Cancer Research UK to extend their groundbreaking cancer research.

The funding has been awarded to three teams at the Cancer Research UK Newcastle Centre based at the Northern Institute for Cancer Research, which had its centre status renewed in December 2016 as part of a review by the charity.

This latest investment from Cancer Research UK brings their recent funding total in Newcastle to over £12 million, which includes £5.9 million as part of the centre review process and £2 million awarded to the Newcastle Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC), by the charity and the National Institute for Health Research.

Vital research

The funding will allow scientists in the centre to continue their vital research into cancer and further cements Newcastle as a hub of ground-breaking science.

Professor Josef Vormoor and Dr Olaf Heidenreich are two of the researchers who will benefit from the latest cash injection, which is a Science Committee Programme Award that provides long-term support for multidisciplinary research which aims to answer questions spanning all areas of cancer research.

Originally from Germany, Prof Vormoor joined Newcastle University 11 years ago and is now Director of the Northern Institute for Cancer Research (NICR). He also carries out research at Newcastle University and works as an Honorary Consultant in Paediatric Oncology at the Great North Children's Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. His research focuses on childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), a type of blood cancer that starts from white blood cells called lymphocytes.

Every year in the UK around 500 young people are diagnosed with ALL, but it is most common in children aged 0-4 years old.

Despite the fact that treatment is often successful, there are still some children for whom treatment doesn’t work. And there are also long-term and late-stage side effects associated with treatment which can affect children later in life.

The latest funding from Cancer Research UK will enable Prof Vormoor and Dr Heidenreich to look at improving treatment options for children with ALL. They hope to uncover new drug combinations with which to treat childhood ALL – combinations that improve survival and have fewer side effects.

Professor Vormoor said: “There are children with ALL who do not respond to treatment, so we need to develop more options for them. And current treatments have side-effects that can have consequences decades later. That’s why we want and need to find new, better and kinder treatments for children diagnosed with cancer – so they can survive their cancer and do so with a good quality of life. ”

As part of their work the team will use techniques like CRISPR, which allows scientists to make precise changes to a cell’s DNA. It can help them explore the underlying biology of ALL cancer cells and figure out what these cells depend on to survive.

For further details please visit, http://www.ncl.ac.uk/press/news/2017/06/crukfunding/

published on: 30 June 2017