It's an exciting time for Prostate Cancer UK and Movember, and an important step forward for men’s health, as we announce the opening of the UK’s first ever Centres of Excellence in prostate cancer research.
The two Movember Centres of Excellence, in partnership with Prostate Cancer UK, will bring together leading researchers across different scientific disciplines to tackle important unanswered questions and move research towards benefitting men with prostate cancer as quickly as possible.
The centres, one in Belfast and Manchester and the other in London, are part of a coordinated attack on prostate cancer in the lab and in the clinic and represent a big step-change in the future of prostate cancer research in the UK. This is why we’ve made our largest ever single research investment - £10 million over five years.
The two new centres bring together twenty-two leading cancer experts across three cities, who are committed to working together for the next five years on research programmes that will tackle three crucial areas of prostate cancer research - telling the difference between aggressive and non-aggressive prostate cancer, identifying men at high risk of aggressive disease, and finding better treatments for men with advanced prostate cancer.
The Movember Centres of Excellence are about long term impact. To make sure that the UK remains a world leader in prostate cancer research, these Centres of Excellence will support the career development of future leaders in prostate cancer research through a strong emphasis on training, so that men in the UK and around the world will benefit from this investment for years to come.
By removing some of the logistical and financial barriers to efficient teamwork, the Centre of Excellence awards allow researchers and clinicians to build on their existing expertise, as well as bringing together new insights from different research areas, like breast, lung and skin cancer, in a way that could revolutionise how prostate cancer research works.
In addition, these centres represent a unique partnership between us and our researchers, giving us a way to work closely together to steer research in directions that will bring real life benefit to men.
Each Movember Centre of Excellence has a slightly different research focus, but both have the overall aim of finding which treatments will work best for each man. The Manchester-Belfast Centre of Excellence will focus on identifying men at high risk of developing recurrent prostate cancer and on improving radiotherapy for these men to prevent the disease returning. It will also look at improving radiotherapy delivery for cancer that has spread outside the prostate.
Professor David Waugh, Scientific Co-Director of the Belfast-Manchester Centre of Excellence says, "From the start, the spirit of teamwork has been the cornerstone of the Movember Centre of Excellence. The Belfast-Manchester centre brings together an international team of experts in radiation, biomarker discovery, genetic modeling and tumour biology, who will use their individual talents in a collective and focused manner, which I believe will make significant discoveries to benefit and extend the lives of men diagnosed with prostate cancer."
The London Centre of Excellence will focus on identifying the genetic basis of prostate cancer. In particular, they’ll search for gene signatures that can be used to identify men at high risk of aggressive disease and so allow better treatment choices based on each man’s genetic information.
Professor Johann de Bono, Director of the London Centre of Excellence, says "Strong links between investigators at the Institute of Cancer Research and Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust with colleagues at Imperial and University College London led to the generation of this London Centre of Excellence. Our initial discussions have already led to many exciting new ideas that we believe will impact our understanding, diagnosis and treatment of this disease."
Both centres have strong partnerships in place between the labs and local hospitals, and expect to develop new clinical trials within five years of the initial award, bringing the prospect of real change to prostate cancer care ever closer.
Prostate Cancer UK Director of Research, Dr Iain Frame summarises the importance of these awards, "It’s staggering to consider what we still don’t know about prostate cancer today, despite it being the most common cancer in men. Our centres programme is a game-changer. By bringing the key minds in prostate cancer research together, and supporting international collaboration, these world class hubs will catalyse innovation and discovery whose impact will be far greater than the sum of their parts."
Watch our short film and read more about the Movember Centres of Excellence