Charity’s commitment gives cancer research in Lancaster a £600k boost

three of the students North West Cancer Research currently funds at Lancaster University from left: Kate Anderton, Hope Crichton and Lily Dixon.
three of the students North West Cancer Research currently funds at Lancaster University from left: Kate Anderton, Hope Crichton and Lily Dixon.
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North West Cancer Research has announced a five year commitment to supporting research projects at Lancaster University, making it the biggest funder of cancer research in the region.

The charity will support £600,000 worth of research projects over the next five years as part of its ongoing relationship with Lancaster University – more than any other cancer charity.

The news follows a recent charity open day, which saw 20 of Lancaster’s most dedicated cancer fundraisers visit the research laboratories within the Division of Biomedical and Life Sciences at the University.

Between them the volunteers have raised more than £230,000 over the last 10 years, which has enabled North West Cancer Research to support projects totalling approximately £1million at Lancaster University.

Over the past decade the charity has funded research projects which explore prostate and skin cancers, as well as basic bench research projects which look at cancer cell behaviour.

The charity has also ear marked £15,600 to support the next generation of cancer researchers, with the creation of six summer studentships based at the Division of Biomedical and Life Science. Three of these have recently completed, and the remaining three will commence in 2017.

NWCR Independent Research Fellow and Lecturer in Biomedicine at Lancaster University, Dr Nikki Copeland, is heading a five year research project which looks at division and DNA replication in human cells which could lead to mutations and abnormalities usually associated with cancers.

The outcomes of his research could potentially identify differences between cancerous cells and normal tissues, with the long term goal of developing new therapeutic targets for cancer patients.

Dr Copeland said: “The support from North West Cancer Research has enabled me to progress and develop this research, by covering the costs of equipment and bench fees and most importantly allowing me to employ a team of four young researchers.

“Understanding how cancer cells are formed, will give us a better understanding of how best to treat patients, and develop cancer-specific therapeutic targets – which is why this research is so important.

“Performing basic research to identify how cancer cells become more proliferative generates data that allows other scientists and clinicians to test and develop new and existing theories – indirectly supporting a future pipeline of research.

“It’s been a pleasure welcoming North West Cancer Research’s fundraisers to the labs here at Lancaster. Without their dedication to raising money and awareness, the charity would not be able to support research projects that provide a greater understanding of cancer and aid in the development of future cancer therapies.”

Cathy Scivier, CEO of North West Cancer Research added: “North West Cancer Research prides itself on only backing the highest standard of medical research. We are fully committed to supporting the research currently underway here at Lancaster, as well as identifying and enabling new projects, which could make significant contributions to national and international research.

“Fundraisers are the backbone of our charity and we are fortunate enough to have a network of wonderful volunteers who recognise and appreciate the importance of research. Cancer sadly affects so many of us in our lifetimes. Today, thanks to research, more than half of all people diagnosed will now survive.

“It is only by working together that we can help put a stop to cancer.”