Yorkshire Cancer Research will invest £5m in nine innovative projects aimed at improving the diagnosis, treatment and care of Yorkshire’s cancer patients, it has been revealed today (Tuesday, March 31).
The charity announced plans for the multi-million pound investment last September as part of a renewed strategy to ensure the research it funds has a direct impact on patients within the county.
The selected projects aim to address a North-South divide in cancer outcomes where today people in Yorkshire are more likely to get cancer, and more likely to die from it, than most other counties in England.
Charles Rowett, Chief Executive Officer at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: “We’re extremely proud to be funding such vital research in Yorkshire thanks to the generosity of our supporters. This is a very substantial investment in projects with a huge regional significance which will take us one step closer to reducing the devastating impact of cancer on people who live in Yorkshire.”
The charity will invest £1.5m in a five-year project aimed at improving the survival of bowel cancer patients through better quality surgery, radiology and pathology. Researchers at the University of Leeds will test new methods of assessing a patient’s response to treatments, develop an improved understanding of which treatments to use before surgery and speed up the evaluation of those treatments through novel clinical trials. 2,500 bowel cancer patients will be involved in the trials, and samples from 10,000 further patients will also be studied.
An additional £1.5m will be invested in a phase III clinical trial in Leeds involving cancer patients from Yorkshire. Researchers will determine whether long term treatment with a natural compound called EPA, which is found in cold water fish, improves outcomes in colorectal cancer patients undergoing surgery. EPA is known to have anti-cancer properties with limited side effects.
A clinical trial involving patients at the University of Sheffield will evaluate the best way to treat aggressive bladder cancer when found at an early stage. Bladder cancer, which is caused primarily by smoking or exposure to workplace chemicals, is particularly common in places like Doncaster, Rotherham and Barnsley, where incidence and mortality rates are higher than the national average.
Researchers in Sheffield will also develop new tools to help female cancer patients make decisions about preserving their fertility. A two-year study at the Hull York Medical School aims to determine why older women are underrepresented within cervical screening programmes and how this can be addressed. An 18-month project at the University of Leeds will investigate access to palliative care services with a view to establishing why patients are not receiving the support they need in a consistent way across the county.
Charles said: “Our £5m investment has proven without a doubt that there is a huge need for more research to address cancer inequalities in our region, especially as national charities and the government continue to reduce their research expenditure in the North of England. We were overwhelmed by the number and quality of the applications received and it is clear that more needs to be done to ensure that everyone in Yorkshire has fair access to the same quality of diagnosis, treatment and care as they would elsewhere in the country.
“We are looking forward to continuing to work in partnership with universities and teaching hospitals, as well as other charities and organisations, to ensure that cancer outcomes in Yorkshire are dealt with as a matter of the highest priority.”
Notes to Editors – Yorkshire Cancer Research
- Harrogate-based Yorkshire Cancer Research is the UK’s largest regional medical research charity (registered charity no. 516898)
- During 2015 we will mark our 90th anniversary with a renewed commitment to reducing the devastating impact of cancer on the lives of people living in Yorkshire.
- Our mission is to work in partnership, fund research and support initiatives that will help people in Yorkshire avoid, survive and cope with cancer.
- Current statistics show that 527 people are diagnosed with cancer in Yorkshire every week. Incidence and mortality rates are higher than the England average due to social deprivation, post-industrialisation and lifestyle choices but also availability of healthcare services and difficulties accessing early diagnostics, clinical trials and the latest treatments.
- We aim to:
- Be the leading authority on cancer in Yorkshire, understanding the problems and priorities in the region and sharing knowledge with partners.
- Raise awareness of cancer and how to prevent it by working in local communities, schools and colleges, sports clubs and with other health-related organisations.
- Promote screening programmes and fund research that can improve the diagnosis of cancer so we can detect and treat it at the earliest opportunity.
- Invest in innovative research projects at every stage of a cancer patient’s journey.
- Campaign for fair and equal access to the very best healthcare services and a greater share of the money spent nationally on research.
- For further information, please visit www.yorkshirecancerresearch.org.uk or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.
- Nikki Brady, Senior PR Officer – Yorkshire Cancer Research
- Tel: 01423 877 228
- Last updated: 31/03/2015
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