Ambitious plans to bring together in Manchester the largest concentration of scientists, doctors and nurses in Europe to accelerate progress for cancer patients have received a £5 million funding boost.
The massive donation to the University of Manchester from The Wolfson Foundation will help build a new world-class cancer research facility in the city.
The £5million gift will go towards the Re-Write Cancer campaign, a £20million joint fundraising appeal by The University of Manchester, Cancer Research UK and The Christie Charitable Fund, which aims to help meet the cost of a new £150million cancer research facility.
The campaign was launched in November by legendary broadcaster Mark Radcliffe when he unveiled an engraved park bench in the grounds of the university, where he studied in the late 1970s.
In a twist to the ‘in memoriam’ benches that are a familiar site in beauty spots across the country, Mark’s bench attests to his recovery from cancer and salutes the scientists, doctors and nurses who are making game-changing progress in tackling the disease.
The inscription reads: “Mark Radcliffe loved sitting here….and still does thanks to advances in cancer research”.
He said: “Facing a cancer diagnosis was extremely tough – it completely turned my life upside down and made me re-evaluate what really matters to me. But thousands of people are in the same boat every year and I was fortunate to receive excellent care at The Christie.”
He added: “Plans for the new research building sound exciting and it’s amazing that such a world-leading facility will be built on my doorstep in the north west. Research into cancer is the key to changing lives now and in the future. Without it I simply wouldn’t be standing – or sitting – here today.”
Construction of the new purpose-built biomedical facility will take place in the same location as the Paterson Building, adjoining The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, to enhance collaboration between the partners and enable Manchester to lead the world in recruiting patients to clinical trials within a decade.
The trials are vital to find out if new treatments are safe and better than current treatments. This could see more patients receiving new cancer treatments leading to improved outcomes and survival rates.
The Paterson Building was home to the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute and other research teams from The University of Manchester but was extensively damaged by fire in 2017.
It will be twice the size of The Paterson Building and will house several hundred members of staff. It is due to open in 2022.
“We are happy to be continuing our longstanding partnership with the University,” said The Wolfson Foundation’s chief executive Paul Ramsbottom. “Our expert reviewers were hugely impressed by the ambition and quality of the research that will be supported by this new building.
“Manchester has become an international powerhouse in cancer research. There could be few more important subjects – and increasingly it is clear there could be few better places to study this most pernicious of disease areas.”