Major new funding for Clatterbridge researchers

Posted 20th January 2023

Staff in the clinical trials unit at Clatterbridge

The search for new cancer treatments at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre and Liverpool is to receive a major funding investment of up to £1.5m, providing hope for people diagnosed with the disease.

Liverpool’s Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) will be given the investment over the next five years to help doctors and scientists find the cancer treatments of the future.

The Liverpool ECMC is a collaboration between The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool Clinical Trials Centre and scientists and researchers at The University of Liverpool. Liverpool is part of a network of 17 ECMCs across the UK, funded by Cancer Research UK, which deliver clinical trials of promising new treatments.

The latest funding has been made possible by a partnership between Cancer Research UK and the National Institute for Health and Care Research and will allow new, treatments – including immunotherapies – for a wide variety of cancers to be developed, as well as improve existing treatments.

ECMCs work in conjunction with local NHS facilities to provide access to cutting-edge cancer treatments. Testing these treatments helps to establish new ways of detecting and monitoring the disease and to evaluate how it responds to the treatment.

Liverpool ECMC lead, Prof Dan Palmer, a consultant at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, said: “We are delighted Liverpool has secured this funding. Clinical trials are crucial to new and improved treatments becoming adopted as standard treatments by the NHS and this funding will allow us to further advance how we can treat cancer effectively.

“Thousands of patients have been provided with access to life-saving drugs and therapies through the Liverpool ECMC and this funding will benefit people with cancer in Merseyside and beyond.”

Clatterbridge has been part of Liverpool ECMC since the status was first awarded to the city in 2017 and this new funding will allow the collaboration to continue until at least 2027.

Dr Sheena Khanduri, Medical Director of The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust, said: “2022 was quite a year for research at Clatterbridge and I am delighted that we are able to start 2023 with the news that our bid to retain ECMC status has been successful.

“Clatterbridge is one of the leading cancer research hospitals in the country and our teams work on improvements to cancer treatment and care every day. We are at the forefront of immunology research and some of our clinical research trials are global firsts. Driving all these efforts is the knowledge that our patients will benefit directly from this pioneering research.”

One in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer within our lifetimes so finding new effective treatments is vital.

Executive Director of Research and Innovation at Cancer Research UK, Dr Iain Foulkes, said: “We are proud to be supporting an expansion of our successful ECMC network, bringing together vast medical and scientific expertise to translate the latest scientific discoveries from the lab into the clinic.

“The ECMC network is delivering the cancer treatments of the future, bringing new hope to people affected by cancer. The trials taking place today will give the next generation the best possible chance of beating cancer.

“The adult and paediatric ECMC networks will offer clinical trials for many different types of cancer. Researchers will be working to find new treatments and tackle the unique challenges presented by cancers in children and young people. Working with our partners, this new funding will bring hope for more effective, personalised therapies for everyone affected by cancer.”

Chief Executive of the NIHR, Professor Lucy Chappell, said: “The ECMC Network is a vital strategic investment in the UK’s cancer research community, bringing together top scientists and clinicians to tackle some of the biggest scientific challenges in cancer and improve outcomes for patients.

“Through this route, we enable more people to join trials that could help them. The ECMC Network will give access to brand new experimental treatments for patients, including children and young people, paving the way for these treatments to be used in the clinic one day.

“This is a crucial part of NIHR’s work, and enables more people to join trials that might help them. We are proud to be partnering with Cancer Research UK and the Little Princess Trust in funding this network.

“The UK has considerable strengths in cancer research. We will continue to back life-saving research for the thousands of adult and children patients affected by cancer every year.”