UCL News


£95k donation to UCL cancer research

12 March 2009


The UCL Medical School and the UCL Cancer Institute ucl.ac.uk/cancer/" target="_self">UCL Cancer Institute

Bottoms Up, a North-West London bowel cancer charity, has donated £95,000 to UCL to buy a vital piece of equipment to aid cancer research. The 'CellSearch' machine, which helps to detect tumour cells in the blood stream, was presented at an event at the UCL Cancer Institute on 11 March.

Professor Chris Boshoff, Director of the UCL Cancer Institute, said: "The generous funding raised by Bottoms Up, combined with funding from the National Institute for Health Research, has allowed us to purchase this equipment and fund a technician and running costs. We believe that this initiative will play an important role in the monitoring of patients being treated for cancer and that this technology will play an expanding role in cancer research within UCL."

Tina Hancock, Chairman of the Bottoms Up bowel cancer charity, says: "As a small, local charity we have in the past donated funds to the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust for vital early diagnostic equipment for bowel cancer. When Anthony Glantz, the husband of one of our committee members, sadly died of the disease two years ago, we decided to look at research opportunities to support. As soon as we heard about the need for the CellSearch machine for the UCL Cancer Institute we knew that we had found the perfect fund-raising goal. It has been an absolute privilege to be associated with UCL and the fantastic research work carried out at the Institute."

Bowel cancer, also known as colon or colorectal cancer, is the second most common cancer to kill people in the UK, causing more deaths every year than breast and cervical cancer combined. Around 35,000 people in the UK will be diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2009.

Dr Tim Meyer, Senior Lecturer in Oncology (UCL Cancer Institute), said: "The CellSearch machine has been designed to detect individual circulating tumour cells which have become detached from the main tumour and released into the blood stream. The machine is very sensitive and able to detect even one or two cells present in one tube of blood. Recent research has shown that the number of circulating cells detected can provide important information about the prognosis in individual patients, and can also be used to detect relapse or disease progression."

The machine is dedicated to Mr Glantz's memory, and his widow Janine and their three daughters attended the presentation of the new equipment. On 11 March, they and the charity's committee visited the UCL Cancer Institute for a tour followed by talks by Professor Ed Byrne, UCL Vice-Provost for Health and Head of the UCL Medical School, and Dr Meyer.

The machine is only one of a handful in the UK, and has recently been proved to be a valuable factor in monitoring the patients' response to treatment. Research into
sophisticated ways of analysing cancer cells without the need for a biopsy is also underway at the UCL Cancer Institute.


UCL Context

The £60-million UCL Cancer Institute opened in 2007 and brings together cancer research across UCL and its partner hospitals. Because it brings together a number of research groups under one roof, the institute is able to provide services, instrumentation and technological expertise available to many individual research groups. In 2007, the institute received a generous contribution of £2 million from the Wolfson Foundation to expand its current core facilities.

On 13 March, the UCL Cancer Institute will host a seminar - featuring two of the UK's most eminent cancer specialists, Professor Mel Greaves (UCL Cancer Institute) and Professor Mike Stratton (Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute) - to discuss current thinking on cancer development and the cancer genome. The seminar will begin at 5 p.m. in Lecture Theatre 1, Cruciform building (Gower Street) and will be followed by a drinks reception. Visit the UCL Cancer Institute for more information.

Related UCL news:

Ovarian cancer: UCL screening tests show promising results for early detection
First baby tested for breast cancer form BRCA1 before conception born in UK
UCL receives 10 industry-linked awards from MRC
UCL Cancer Institute opened