Cancer patients to benefit from new Leeds trial centre

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Cancer patients across Yorkshire will soon have better access to pioneering treatments after almost three quarters of a million pounds was pledged for a Leeds-based clinical trial centre.

The Yorkshire Cancer Research Centre for Early Phase Clinical Trials, based at the University of Leeds, will provide more opportunities for the region’s cancer patients to participate in innovative studies.

The region currently lags behind most areas of England in terms of premature, preventable deaths from cancer - with 554 new cases of cancer diagnosed each week.

The centre has been formed in partnership with the Clinical Trials Research Unit at the University of Leeds and clinicians and scientists at the universities of Leeds, Sheffield, York, Hull and Bradford.

Yorkshire Cancer Research, which is based in Harrogate, has provided £724,339 to fund core staffing in support of researchers and at hospitals across the region and to provide advice for cancer researchers in early clinical trial design and development.

As well as providing better access to innovative, new cancer treatments, it is expected that the centre will increase cancer research funding into Yorkshire and develop the next generation of leading cancer researchers.

Prof Julia Brown, director of the Clinical Trials Research Unit, said the initiative represented a “significant change” in the delivery of clinical trials and would improve and accelerate the transition of new treatments.

She said: “Clinical trials are vital for the development of new and effective cancer treatments. One of the major challenges is, however, taking a new idea and turning it into a clinical trial for patients with cancer. This has meant that, to date, patients with cancer in Yorkshire have had limited access to novel therapies within early phase clinical trials.”

Prof Brown said hundreds of patients could take part in the trials, with the first expecting to get underway in October.

She added: “This is the first stage of taking ideas from the laboratory and into hospitals and helping patients.”

Charles Rowett, chief executive officer at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: “We’re extremely excited to be part of this new venture. This project is the first of many patient-centred investments that the charity is planning for the coming years.”

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