Cancer survivor Sir Bobby Robson marked the official opening of a state-of-the-art research centre by meeting the doctors and scientists using its facilities to help patients.
The former England and Newcastle United manager, who survived bowel cancer in 1992 and a rare form of malignant melanoma in 1995, heard how new cancer treatments are taken from the lab bench to the patient’s bedside when he visited the Northern Institute for Cancer Research Paul O’Gorman Building.
He unveiled a commemorative plaque at the event which marked a year to the day that researchers from different parts of Newcastle University started moving into the three story, purpose built facility.
Sir Bobby, 72, said: “People in the region now have one of the most advanced cancer research centres in Europe, here, on their doorstep. As a cancer survivor myself, I know just how important this research is.”
The centre has been built and equipped thanks to a partnership between local and national charities, the Government’s Science Research Investment Fund and Newcastle University.
Funding has come from the Government’s Science Research Investment Fund (£4,300,000), Cancer Research UK (£4 million), CHILDREN with LEUKAEMIA (£2 million), Newcastle University (£500,000), the Leukaemia Research Fund (£300,000), the North of England Children’s Cancer Research Fund (£300,000) and the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Charity and Newcastle Healthcare Charity (£350,000).
Sir Bobby continued: “The Northern Institute for Cancer Research Paul O’Gorman Building is testament to the generosity of the people of the North East. I am proud to be associated with the official opening.”
Scientists at Newcastle University have an international reputation for anti-cancer drug development.
They play a crucial role in delivering the new generation of cancer treatments for children and adults by identifying new drug targets, developing new drugs and verifying the effectiveness and safety of new treatments.
Professor Herbie Newell, Professor of Cancer Therapeutics at Newcastle University, said: “We are delighted that Sir Bobby Robson is here to learn more about our work. Our understanding of the science of cancer is evolving rapidly and research, funded by local people, is helping to make a real difference to cancer patients.”
Researchers based at the centre work with clinicians at Newcastle hospitals to help maintain an extensive clinical trials portfolio and ensure that local people have access to the latest cancer treatments.
Professor Herbie Newell, who heads a team funded by Cancer Research UK and the Leukaemia Research Fund, continued: “The new facilities will provide a major boost to our research. Since we started moving into the centre a year ago, we have brought 120 scientists together under one roof. This means they can share resources and work more effectively together.”
Every year around 13,000 adults, and between 80 and 100 children, are diagnosed with cancer in the northern region.