thumbnail ‘First in Europe’ equipment delivered to help combat cancer

A cutting-edge piece of cancer treatment and research equipment is being installed this week at Newcastle University with the help of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

The ultra-compact ABT Molecular Imaging Biomarker Generator  purchased through a record £625,000 contribution from the Foundation, is only the second of its type in the world and the first in Europe. It will help with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other serious diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

It is being installed within Newcastle University, which has invested a further £600,000, to create a ‘specialist environment’ in the School of Chemistry to house the new equipment.

The Biomarker Generator will directly benefit cancer patients in the north east and Cumbria and will play a significant role in the development of new cancer treatments.

Its delivery is a very proud day for everyone involved with the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

Lady Elsie says: “It’s wonderful to see this piece of equipment actually becoming a reality and being prepared for use.

“We rely on the cancer expertise of our medical trustees who are always looking for promising new treatments which could make a real difference to people currently fighting cancer as well as helping with research into the disease.  And when they explained the benefits of the Biomarker Generator to my family and I we shared their enthusiasm.

“It’s a very significant investment for our charity, the largest we’ve made so far, and something we simply couldn’t have done without the incredible support we receive.

"It's truly humbling when you think about the many thousands of donations and fund-raising events which have gone into making this happen.

“We’re extremely grateful to every fund-raiser and every single person who makes a donation and will continue to ensure the money is invested in the very best possible way.

“I’m very proud that the charity which my husband launched is continuing to make such a difference for other people fighting cancer.  He would share my fervent hope that this equipment helps to save lives.”

The Biomarker Generator creates radioactive tracers which are given to patients who then undergo scans, which is also known as imaging.  The information collected through this imaging helps doctors understand where the disease is in each patient, how serious the disease is, and the underlying processes and pathways that are sustaining the illness. The tracers can also be used to see whether a new drug has penetrated a tumour and whether a new treatment is damaging the tumour cells and stopping them growing.

Herbie Newell, Professor of Cancer Therapeutics at the Newcastle Cancer Centre at the Northern Institute for Cancer Research, Newcastle University, says: “The Biomarker Generator is cutting-edge technology that will allow us to make sure that we deliver the best possible care for each patient we treat, whilst learning at the same time as much as possible about our new drugs.”

Tom Welch, President and CEO of ABT Molecular Imaging, Inc., producer of the Biomarker Generator, says: “ABT is honoured to be associated with the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and is excited to be a collaborative partner of Newcastle University in their efforts to advance cancer research.”

Funding for the Biomarker Generator was made possible thanks to fantastic ongoing support for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, the cancer charity Sir Bobby Robson launched in 2008.

It is continuing to fulfil Sir Bobby’s ambition to help find more effective treatments for cancer and to focus on new treatments which directly benefit people currently fighting the disease as well playing an important role in wider research into the disease.

It funds projects within the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which directly benefit cancer patients from across the north east and Cumbria, including the clinical trials of drugs at the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre.

In addition to funding the Biomarker Generator, the Foundation has equipped the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care and funded a specialist clinical research nurse and research doctor within the Centre.

It has funded leukaemia laboratory research equipment and contributed to the Royal Victoria Infirmary’s teenage cancer unit.

The Foundation has also enhanced a children’s waiting area, jointly funded a patient ‘quiet and information area’ with help from Macmillan Cancer Support and part funded a complementary therapy programme providing symptom relief for cancer patients – all at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care, Freeman Hospital.

The charity receives support from Patrons including Alan Shearer, Niall Quinn, Steve Gibson, Delia Smith and Mick Mills and, as a fund within the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Charity, receives substantial support which means it can limit administrative costs to less than one percent.

Visit the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation to make a donation, view messages of support, or for more information.


published on: 16th December 2011

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