population health West Yorkshire

Leeds launches cancer research centre

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Leeds are partnering on a new cancer research centre.

The Leeds Cancer Research Centre was officially launched on 4 February 2022, via a virtual ceremony, and brings together experts from disciplines including biological, physical, engineering and clinical sciences, along with clinical practice and ‘innovative health interventions’.

The aim of the new Centre is to help ‘tackle some of the greatest challenges facing cancer research today’ and ‘transform the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer’, including cancer-related health inequalities, and to ‘improve patient outcomes in Leeds, Yorkshire and across the globe’.

The trust highlights that, in Yorkshire, ‘more than 31,000 new cases are diagnosed every year, with the third worst outcomes in England’ and that ‘nearly a fifth of the Leeds City Region’s population live in areas of severe social deprivation where cancer is the leading cause of death’.

It adds that around 40 per cent of ‘people from these communities who develop cancer are diagnosed at a late stage’ – and have a 50 per cent ‘greater chance of dying from the disease than those who live in Leeds’s least deprived areas’.

The new Centre is led by Clinical Director David Sebag-Montefiore, Professor of Oncology in the University of Leeds’s School of Medicine and Consultant Clinical Oncologist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals.

Professor Sebag-Montefiore said: “Our vision is for Leeds to be at the international forefront of tackling cancer.

“The Centre builds on the city’s rich heritage of a century of cancer research, from the founding of the Radium Centre at Leeds General Infirmary in 1929 and the discovery of Tamoxifen in the 1970s as a highly effective treatment for patients with breast cancer.

“Today Leeds is producing world-leading research in structural and chemical biology, cancer pathology, clinical trials, haematological and bowel cancers, and is home to Centres of Excellence for radiotherapy and brain cancer research.

“The creation of the Leeds Cancer Research Centre comes at a critically important time. The pandemic reinforces the need for cheaper, safer, and more effective treatments for patients, and the need to reconfigure our health care system to ensure safe effective cancer treatment during future viral outbreaks.”

Adam Nelson, Professor of Chemical Biology at the University of Leeds and Leeds Cancer Research Centre Training Lead for Cancer, added: “The Centre will provide an outstanding interdisciplinary research environment and culture to train the cancer researchers of tomorrow. It will equip a new generation of diverse research leaders by instilling a culture of collaboration, and giving them the essential expertise, tools, technologies, leadership, and ambassadorial skills to become the cancer leaders of the future.”