Strathclyde shares in Cancer Centre funding boost

Cancer Research UK Formulation Unit

Scientists at the University of Strathclyde are set to share in an £8 million investment by Cancer Research UK. 

The charity’s funding will support groundbreaking research at its Glasgow Centre, in which Strathclyde is a partner.

The Centre will build on Glasgow’s world class research in the areas of drug discovery and understanding how cancer spreads around the body, as well as its strong expertise in the genetics underpinning cancer and looking at ways to make treatments more precise. Its scientists are also working to make new discoveries in fundamental cell biology, and helping translate them into new treatments.

Strathclyde has nearly 20 researchers, across a range of disciplines, working on drug discovery and development in four of the Centre’s teams – brain tumours, breast cancer, chemical biology and prostate cancer.

Next generation of researchers

The funding will also support training of the next generation of cancer researchers, including 15 PhD students, to ensure that the brightest scientists are attracted and supported in their career in cancer research.  

Professor Gavin Halbert, of the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, said: “This funding is a tremendous boost for cancer research in Glasgow, encompassing a range of academic centres including Strathclyde.”

Victoria Steven, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for Scotland, said: “This award is recognition of the fantastic research taking place in Glasgow. 

“One in two of us will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in our lives - so it’s reassuring to know that, thanks to our supporters, Cancer Research UK is able to fund some of the best and most promising research here, in Glasgow, to help more people survive. 

“The city is already home to a diverse range of cancer research activity and the funding will assist in pushing forward basic and translational research, aimed at developing new drugs and treatments for the benefit of patients in Glasgow and beyond.”  

The Cancer Research UK Glasgow Centre is a partnership between the charity, Strathclyde, the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde and the University of Glasgow.

Leucovorin, a drug used in across Europe the treatment of colorectal cancers, was developed at Strathclyde in the 1980s by Professor Colin Suckling OBE and the late Professor Hamish Wood CBE.

The Cancer Research UK Formulation Unit, based at Strathclyde, was involved in the pharmaceutical development of temozolomide, which is used in the treatment of brain tumours and is now marketed worldwide as Temodal by Schering Plough, with sales worth $1 billion. During its clinical trial and development phase, capsules had to be manufactured by hand, creating the challenge of maintaining supply to match clinical demand.

Abiraterone acetate, which is used in the treatment of prostate cancer and globally marketed as Zytiga by Janssen Oncology, was also developed and put into trial through the Formulation Unit’s expertise.

To mark World Cancer Day on 4 February, the Formulation Unit is hosting 50 members of the public associated with Cancer Research UK work and fundraising, to offer them a tour of its state of the art clinical trial pharmaceutical research facility in the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences building.