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Breaking the ground event for MCRC

Breaking the ground event with (L-R) Prof Nic Jones, and cancer survivors Amber Irvine and Stan Parker

“What Manchester does today, the rest of the world does tomorrow”

The Northwest of England has a long history of innovation – from the cotton mills of the Industrial Revolution to the ‘Madchester’ music scene of the late 1980s, it has cultivated a sense of originality and influence.

And this is equally true of its academic heritage – the atomic theory, the world’s first stored-programme computer, and the first “test-tube baby”, were all born under Greater Manchester’s skies.

Continuing this rich tradition, inspirational cancer survivors and donors come together to celebrate the first steps in the construction of a new state-of-the-art research building in Manchester.

Stan Parker and nine-year old Amber Irvine, who both beat their cancers thanks to cutting-edge treatment, joined Cancer Research UK’s Chief Scientist to ‘break the ground’ on the site of the new Manchester Cancer Research Centre (MCRC) in South Manchester.

The following video showcases what the building will look like when it’s finished in 2014:

Golden age

The famous Mancunian drizzle held off as donors, patients and researchers talked movingly about their experiences and why the centre meant so much to them. There was a real sense that this could be the beginning of a new way to treat cancer, by developing ways to tailor therapy to the individual.

Director of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre and Cancer Research UK’s Chief Scientist, Professor Nic Jones, said:

“We are very much in a ‘golden age’ of cancer research, having come a long way in the last 40 years with survival rates driven up by improvements in treatments and early diagnosis.

“However, we still have a long way to go in the fight against the disease. To take our life-saving research to the next level, we need more laboratories and more world-class scientists. The new MCRC will provide an amazing role in hosting world-class cancer biology, drug discovery and clinical trials all on the one spot.

“Providing more lab space, the new building will attract scientists from all over the world enabling us to make more life saving discoveries faster. Manchester already has an impressive legacy in cancer research, but the new centre will put the city on the world map for helping to save lives.”

In Greater Manchester area alone, around 13,200 people are diagnosed with cancer every year – that’s 36 people affected every day.

The centre will be built thanks to a fundraising partnership between Cancer Research UK, The Christie hospital  and The University of Manchester, and is supported by the “More Tomorrows” campaign. Money has already been raised for the new building, including a successful bid by the university for government money, while the “More Tomorrows” fundraising campaign will provide the remaining £16M

The MCRC will be one of the largest cancer research centres in Europe and is expected to open in the summer of 2014. Although the three organisations have been working together since 2006, the new building will house around 250 expert staff, who share the same goal of understanding how cancer starts, develops and progresses. This knowledge will ultimately be turned into new ways of detecting and treating cancer.

Bench to bedside

Bringing expert doctors and scientists together in this way will promote greater face-to-face working and exchange of expertise, and provide a direct link between researchers and patients.

The type of ‘bench-to-bedside’ research that will take place in the new centre will be vital in transforming our ever-growing fundamental knowledge of cancer biology into new personalised treatments for use in the clinic.

As with so much in the past, Manchester will stand as a hub of invention that can transport discoveries across the world.

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