Princess Royal officially opens pioneering center for ‘Darwinian’ cancer drug discovery

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Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal has officially opened the Center for Cancer Drug Discovery and toured the center to learn more about her work to overcome cancer’s ability to evolve and become resistant to treatment.

Scientists at the pioneering center, which is located on the Sutton site of the London Cancer Research Institute, aim to discover new types of treatment that could allow the cancer to be controlled in the long term and ultimately cured.

The Cancer Research Institute (ICR) Center for Cancer Drug Discovery is home to the world’s first ‘Darwinian’ drug discovery program, covering a range of exciting projects focused on finding new ways to beat cancer.

Her Royal Highness was greeted in the new building yesterday (Thursday) by the newly appointed ICR Executive Director, Professor Kristian Helin, and ICR President, Professor Julia Buckingham.

His Royal Highness listened to scientists from a variety of disciplines, including biologists, chemists, clinicians, computer scientists, and evolution experts, working together at the ICR’s Center for Cancer Drug Discovery. They showed His Royal Highness some of the building’s state-of-the-art equipment and demonstrated how this helps them make groundbreaking discoveries that will lead to more and better drugs for cancer patients.

The Center for Cancer Drug Discovery is state-of-the-art, bringing together around 300 leading scientists in a collaborative space with a key goal: to overcome resistance to cancer drugs so that people with cancer can live longer lives. and healthy and ultimately cured of your illness. .

Cancer evolves and adapts to its environment and treatment, which can make it resistant to therapies designed to kill it. This is the biggest challenge for cancer researchers and clinicians. Cancer cells, in a patient who may have initially responded well to treatment, can detect mutations that allow them to avoid being killed by a drug or therapy, and the tumor stops responding and begins to grow and spread again.

The Center for Cancer Drug Discovery covers an area of ​​7,300 square meters and costs £ 75 million, a significant proportion of which comes from donations to the ICR, which is both a research institute and a charity. His Royal Highness saw some of the new biology, chemistry and computer labs, as well as the important meeting rooms and collaboration centers, which encourage creativity and interdisciplinary work.

As part of the visit, His Royal Highness also met with some of the major donors whose support helped finance the new building and unveiled a plaque to commemorate the official opening of the new center. The ICR continues to seek philanthropic support to further refurbish the building and ensure that the scientists working on it are as well equipped as possible so that they can make their discoveries faster.

His Royal Highness last visited the Sutton campus of the ICR to open another cancer research center, the Brookes Lawley Building in 2003.

ICR’s partner hospital, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, is located next door on the Sutton site. This partnership helps drive better treatments for cancer patients by bringing the results of cutting-edge research from the laboratory to the clinic.

Additionally, Sutton is home to The London Cancer Hub, a collaboration between the London Borough of Sutton and the ICR, and the center is one of its iconic buildings. The London Cancer Hub, once completed, will enhance the ability of ICR scientists to partner with industry to bring their discoveries to market where they can benefit people with cancer.

Professor Kristian Helin, Executive Director of the London Cancer Research Institute, said:

“It has been an honor to welcome Her Royal Highness back to the ICR and share the exciting progress we have made in cancer research since our last visit almost two decades ago.
“As world leaders in this field, we have discovered 20 cancer drug candidates and progressed 11 drugs in clinical trials since 2005 and the drug abiraterone, discovered by ICR, is now used as the standard treatment for advanced prostate cancer throughout the world. But there is still much to do to make cancer a disease that is manageable in the long term and can be cured more often, so that patients can live longer and with a better quality of life.
“Our pioneering Center for Cancer Drug Discovery signifies our unwavering determination to make the discoveries that defeat cancer, and today’s official opening marks a key milestone in our journey to address this disease and bring hope to future generations.”

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