Yorkshire Cancer Research Announces £3.4m Investment in Leeds

05 March 2019

Yorkshire Cancer Research has today (Tuesday, March 5) announced a £3.4m investment in new research programmes in Leeds.

The funding will focus on improving early diagnosis, treatment and quality of life for cancer patients living in the region. 

By addressing specific issues within the city, the charity aims to have a direct impact on the number of people who survive cancer and go on to live long and healthy lives.

Dr Kathryn Scott, Chief Executive at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: “We want to ensure that people with cancer in Yorkshire have the best possible experience, from diagnosis to recovery. 

“This means improving their opportunity to be diagnosed at the earliest possible stage; ensuring they receive the best treatment for their cancer and providing innovative support programmes so they can be prepared for and recover well from treatment. 

“It also means increasing access to cutting-edge treatments and ensuring Yorkshire remains at the forefront of world-class research. This is only possible thanks to the support of Yorkshire people which allows us to invest in innovative projects to help cancer patients in our communities.”

With an investment of £193,000, researchers at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust will investigate whether an education and lifestyle programme, including exercise, dietary advice and stop smoking support, can improve the wellbeing and survival of patients undergoing radiotherapy treatment to cure their lung cancer.

More than 600 people are diagnosed with lung cancer in Leeds every year 1. The study, led by Dr Kevin Franks and Dr Carole Burnett at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, will initially recruit 100 patients from the Leeds area. 

Dr Franks said: “Advances in radiotherapy mean more lung cancer patients are surviving. However, in order to maximise the benefits of radiotherapy on its own or in combination with chemotherapy and immunotherapy there is an urgent need to ensure patients are as healthy as possible before, during and after treatment. If successful, this study could lead to a larger scale trial or a region-wide programme involving cancer centres and units across Yorkshire.”

Another trial will develop and test whether an online system can be used to help patients receive immediate, tailored medical advice or contact from their hospital. Breast and bowel cancer survivors in Leeds will be invited to report symptoms and side effects from home. Reports will then be displayed in real-time within hospital records alongside scans and test results. 

Just half of patients taking part in the 2017 National Cancer Patient Experience Survey thought that they were given enough care and support from health and social services during their cancer treatment, and even fewer said the same once their treatment had finished 2

The study will be led by Galina Velikova, Consultant in Medical Oncology and Professor at the University of Leeds, and funded with a £790,000 investment.

Professor Velikova said: “Many cancer survivors report feeling ‘abandoned’ after treatment. There is a huge need to reduce the impact of treatment on breast and bowel cancer survivors’ lives by increasing their confidence to detect and manage side effects and symptoms in a timely way. International studies show that online monitoring can result in better symptom control and extended survival.” 

A third project, funded with a £1.7m investment, will run alongside the Leeds Lung Health Check – a pioneering lung screening trial funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research and launched in November 2018. Blood samples taken from people undergoing lung health checks will be tested to see if they can be used to improve the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer.

Project lead Dr Phil Crosbie, from the University of Manchester, said: “We will work in collaboration with other organisations to investigate whether blood samples can be used to more accurately determine who should have a lung scan, detect lung cancer earlier and improve the performance of scans. By improving the effectiveness of lung screening programmes, we could save more lives.”

A fourth investment of £723,000 will be used to extend a pioneering clinical trials centre that has brought innovative treatments to patients living in the region since its launch in 2014. The Yorkshire Cancer Research Centre for Early Phase Clinical Trials, formed in partnership with the Clinical Trials Research Unit at the University of Leeds and clinicians and scientists at the universities of Leeds, Sheffield, York, Hull and Bradford, will continue to provide the infrastructure needed to bring more clinical trials to Yorkshire. 

Professor Brown said: “We are delighted to be able to continue to deliver clinical trials research in Yorkshire which is essential to developing the evidence base for new treatments for patients.”

Dr Scott added: “This investment is the result of extensive analysis of the Yorkshire cancer landscape, thorough consultation with patients, their family members and carers, and the continued strength of the charity’s partnerships with key organisations across the region. By working together, we can make great strides in helping people in Yorkshire avoid, survive and cope with cancer.”



  1. CancerData, Incidence, https://www.cancerdata.nhs.uk/incidence/age_standardised_rates
  2. National Cancer Patient Experience Survey 2017, http://www.ncpes.co.uk/reports/2017-reports/national-reports-2


Nikki Brady, Senior PR Officer, Yorkshire Cancer Research. Tel: 01423 877228. Email: nikki@ycr.org.uk

Notes to Editors

  • Harrogate-based Yorkshire Cancer Research was founded in 1925 and is the largest independent regional cancer charity in England (Registered Charity 516898). We are not part of a national charity.
  • We are committed 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 583 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.
  • For further information, please visit www.yorkshirecancerresearch.org.uk or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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