As 2016 draws to a close, we are pleased to be able to share with you some exciting news about Yorkshire Cancer Research, including our ongoing work and future directions.

It was only a few short years ago that we decided to redirect our research strategy towards funding work with more immediate patient benefit. We are thrilled to report that within the past 4 funding rounds, including the current 2016 round, we will now have 50,000 patients or members of the public involved in the research that we fund. Moving forward we plan to continue to expand our patient/public engagement in work we support as well as explore how the work in funded awards might be integrated into clinical practice to deliver further patient benefit to the people in and around Yorkshire.

For the first time Yorkshire Cancer Research had a targeted funding call in 2016 addressing 6 priority areas in lung cancer and early diagnosis of cancer, as identified in our Expert Workshops held at the beginning of the year. 

1. Changing behaviour in relation to cancer signs and symptoms in deprived communities

2. Using primary care to improve the uptake of National Cancer Screening Programmes

3. Testing novel early diagnosis tools in a primary care setting

4. Testing new clinical interventions in lung cancer or early diagnosis

5. Using CT screening to identify early lung cancer in “at risk” populations

6. Developing new models of best practice in lung cancer pathways across Yorkshire

In response to the call we received 25 applications which went through to our Strategic Fit Test and Excellence Test with the best scoring applications discussed at our Research Advisory Meeting. 

We are pleased to announce that our Board of Trustees have made 7 awards in a range of projects within lung cancer and early diagnosis of cancer, exceeding the amounts initially allocated for the round. Because this round is so significant, both in terms of the scale of the awards and the patient benefit of the work, we need to do things differently this time and are only providing general information about the outcome at this point. Details of the specific awards will be formally announced in the coming months, so please keep an eye on our website for more information.

Upcoming Announcements for 2017

Our 2017 Funding Round

The Charity is looking forward to announcing its next funding round in early 2017. Make sure to check our website for updates or sign up for our funding announcements by emailing research@ycr.org.uk.

Annual Reports

Next year we will be distributing our Annual Report forms to all Yorkshire Cancer Research award holders and the deadline will be midday on Monday 17 April 2017. Many thanks in advance to all awardees that complete the Annual Reports as they are indispensable to us for learning about the progress of the awards. We’re always pleased to hear about how the funded work is progressing.

Cancer in Yorkshire Report

We have recently joined forces with NHS England and Public Health England to produce a new report that brings together local data on cancer from across the region. The report focuses on the four biggest types of cancer and offers a clear picture of cancer in Yorkshire. The report highlights the improved survival across the region in recent years but also highlights stark differences on some measures across local areas, and between different groups of people. It also emphasises the need for significant funding in cancer research and prevention across the region.

The report can be downloaded here.

New Roles within Yorkshire Cancer Research

There are exciting changes at Yorkshire Cancer Research with new roles for a number of our team.

Kathryn Scott becomes Director of Research and Innovation

 Morgan Williams moves into Compliance, Risk and Governance

 Leah Simmons has become our Cancer Information Officer

Lisa Trickett has joined us to manage our Community Health Initiative

We’ve also been joined by Christie Watson from the University of Leeds on a one year internship

Community Health - Lisa Trickett

Yorkshire Cancer Research is piloting a new, exciting community health programme called Wise Up To Cancer.

The programme involves a health check which will address lifestyle factors that could help prevent cancer and prompt early diagnosis of cancer through:

  • Promoting healthy lifestyles
  • Raising awareness of cancer signs and symptoms
  • Encouraging people to take part in the 3 cancer screening programmes - cervical, breast and bowel

Wise Up To Cancer is being piloted with community pharmacies and a community organisation in West Yorkshire. Leeds Beckett University will be completing a robust evaluation of the programme.

We are also piloting Wise Up To Cancer internally at events, workplaces and GP settings.

The photo below was taken at the Wise Up To Cancer health checks delivered at the Great Yorkshire Show earlier this year. 94 people took part in the health checks at the Show.

Lisa Trickett, Community Health Initiatives Manager, is working on this programme. For more information email lisa@ycr.org.uk.

Update on Yorkshire Cancer Research University Academic Fellows at Leeds

In our 2015 Special Funding Round we made a large £4m endowment release award to the University of Leeds to support a capacity building project in cancer research. We’re pleased to announce that of the 9 Fellowships posts, 4 appointments have been made with a 5th appointment to follow later in the year.

This cohort represents rising stars in a variety of research areas that align with the Strategic Aims of the Charity and Yorkshire Cancer Research has played an important role on the interview and appointment committees. Consideration of the next group of Fellows is ongoing and we look forward to being able to tell you about them in a future newsletter.

Dr Ane Appelt

Ane Appelt is a clinical cancer researcher, working in the intersection between clinical oncology and medical physics. Her fellowship will focus on optimising and personalising radiotherapy, especially for cancer in the pelvis.

This fellowship will focus on radiotherapy of the pelvis, working on developing models that relate treatment data to patient-experienced toxicity. It will include examination of patient preferences with respect to potential treatment outcomes, for example different types of toxicities, and will study how these preferences as well as other individual characteristics can be incorporated into radiotherapy treatment planning. Finally, Ane will test strategies for optimal use of new technologies for delivery of such individualised treatment, especially for patients with cancers in the anus and rectum. 

Dr Florien Boele 

Originally from the Netherlands and with a background in neuropsychology, Florien Boele’s research interests include family caregiving, quality of life and symptom management in (neuro-) oncology.

Exploring the experiences and disease burden of different groups of patients and caregivers, across important transition points in the disease trajectory can help identify areas for improvement in supportive care. Moreover, obtaining a good overview of the supportive care programmes that have been developed and tested elsewhere can help us determine how we can best support families living with the consequences of cancer in the UK. 

Florien’s research can provide valuable leads to improve and tailor supportive care to better meet both patients’ and caregivers’ needs. This, in turn, could improve their health and quality of life. The Yorkshire Cancer Research funded Fellowship will allow her to continue and expand research along these lines over the next 5 years.

Dr Louise Murray

Louise Murrary is a Clinical Oncology doctor with a particular interest in radiotherapy. There have been massive technical developments in radiotherapy over the past decade or so, giving Clinical Oncologists opportunities to more accurately target tumours with radiotherapy and at the same time better spare the surrounding normal tissues from excessive doses of radiotherapy. 

These technologies, therefore, may facilitate increased rates of cure and reduced side effects from treatment. Louise’s research interest is involved with implementing these new technologies in the clinical trial setting for patients in Yorkshire, and evaluating the patient benefit from these technologies. Louise’s overall aim is to improve outcomes for cancer patients in Yorkshire, both in terms of increased cure and reduced long-term side-effects through the implementation and evaluation of novel radiotherapy technologies.

Dr Lucy Ziegler

In July 2015 Yorkshire Cancer Research funded Lucy Ziegler’s Time4PallCare project, an 18 month study exploring the relationship between timing of access to palliative care and a series of quality markers for end of life care.

This is the first time duration of palliative care and intensity of input has been reported in relation to cancer patients within the UK NHS.

The data we have produced can be used by clinicians to prioritise assessment in patients currently disadvantaged in terms of access to palliative care.

In May 2016 Lucy was thrilled to be awarded a 5 year Yorkshire Cancer Research Academic Fellowship. Her plans for the fellowship are to build on Time4PallCare through a programme of research to support timely integration of palliative care for patients with advanced cancer.

If you are taking on a challenge in 2017, whether it’s a run, swim, cycle or walk, your miles can make a difference and help Yorkshire Cancer Research fund our all important research. 

We would really love for you to join our very special fundraising team, Team Yorkshire. The money you raise will help save lives, prolong life and improve the quality of life for cancer patients in Yorkshire. If you are interested in getting involved please email events@ycr.org.uk and we will warmly welcome you to the team! 

Alternatively if you would like to make a regular donation to Yorkshire Cancer Research please click here to set up a regular gift online.

Yorkshire Cancer Research Appoints New Chairman

Yorkshire Cancer Research has appointed a new Chairman to steer the charity towards its goal to save 2,000 more lives each year in the region by 2025. 

Graham Smith, the former managing director of BUPA Care Services, has taken over from retiring Chairman Professor Anthony Robards OBE, who served as a Trustee of the charity for 10 years and took on the position of Chairman in 2010. 

Mr Smith has over 30 years experience in the health and social care sectors, having founded Goldsborough Healthcare plc in 1981. After the business was acquired by BUPA in 1997, he became Managing Director of BUPA Care Services, which at the time was the largest provider of care homes in the UK. 

Since 2001, Mr Smith has been Chairman and a non- executive director of 10 businesses in the health and social care sectors in the UK, Spain, France and Sweden. He is currently Chairman of MHA Care, the UK’s largest charitable provider of care for the elderly, Solingen Private Equity Fund and an Honorary Entrepreneurial Fellow of Durham University Business School. 

Charles Rowett, Chief Executive Officer at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said:  “The charity has a clear strategy to address regional cancer priorities to help everyone in Yorkshire to avoid, survive and cope with cancer. We are aiming for lower incidence rates and higher survival rates in every part of our region by funding research and facilitating best practice in prevention, treatment, care and support that is already being seen in certain parts Europe and North America. 

“Graham is an entrepreneur with a strong charity background and a track record of growing both businesses and charities. He is a proud Yorkshireman and committed to leading the charity through the next phase of our development so that we deliver on the promises that we have made in our new strategy.”

Cancer in Yorkshire Conference

For many years we have held an Annual Research/Scientific Meeting as an opportunity to showcase the talented researchers we fund and to let our community know more about what we do. We are pleased to announce that late next year we will be holding a new Yorkshire Cancer Conference. In addition to sessions targeted towards researchers, clinicians and healthcare professionals, we now plan to add new sessions of interest to cancer patients and members of the public. We’d especially like to invite to our inaugural event those stakeholders that touch patient pathways including commissioners and members of local authorities, NHS England and Public Health England. We’ll be in touch again soon with further details.

Patients More Likely to Survive in Research-Active Hospitals 

Bowel cancer patients treated in hospitals where large amounts of clinical research is taking place are more likely to survive – even if they themselves are not involved in the clinical trials, a study by the University of Leeds has found. 

Researchers found that more people survived operations in these types of hospitals and patients were also more likely to still be alive when followed up five years afterwards. 

In fact, there was a nearly four per cent increase in the five-year survival rate for those treated in highly research-active hospitals. 

Since 2003, Yorkshire Cancer Research has invested £7.2m in bowel cancer research at the University of Leeds. 

Charles Rowett, Chief Executive Officer, said: “This paper provides concrete evidence of the importance of our extensive investment in bowel cancer research in Leeds. 

“Despite having higher cancer incidence and mortality rates than many other areas of England, Yorkshire has historically not received sufficient funding to address the specific problems that exist in our region. 

“We would urge all national and regional cancer research charities, the government and the NHS to work together so that everybody can benefit from the proven advantage of living close to research active hospitals.” 

For more information visit www.ycr.org.uk/news/patients-more-likely-to-survive-in-research-active-hospitals.

How Patient Case Studies Are Helping Us Promote Our Research

We have recently seen more patients coming forward to tell their stories as part of our aim to increase awareness of cancer. 

Two patients who are taking part in our five-year investigation into cancer inequalities in Hull recently spoke of their experiences as part of Lung Cancer Awareness Month, which ran throughout November.

Colin Russell, 60, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in May. He is keen to encourage others to exercise and look out for signs and symptoms. You can read more about his story by visiting www.ycr.org.uk/colinrussell.

Barry Garton, 72, was diagnosed with lung cancer in July. He is encouraging young people to stop smoking. You can read more about Barry by visiting www.ycr.org.uk/news/hull-lung-cancer-patient-warns-of-the-dangers-of-smoking/.

If you are in contact with patients or family members who would like to share their stories, please let us know. You can call us on 01423 501269 or email press@ycr.org.uk.

2016 has been an exciting year at Yorkshire Cancer Research and we couldn't have done it without your support and encouragment. It only remains for us to say happy holidays and see you all in 2017.

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