Trailfinders founder announces landmark £200,000 donation to fund prostate cancer research

The Mike Gooley Trailfinders Charity has today announced it will be donating £200,000 to The Prostate Cancer Charity’s studentship research programme. Two major research projects in the UK, both of which will look at halting the spread of the disease, will receive the funding.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Currently 10,000 men with prostate cancer die every year and more than 37,000 men are diagnosed every year in the UK. With so many men affected by the disease, investment into the causes, testing and treatment of prostate cancer is critical.

The first study led by Professor David Bates, at the University of Bristol, is hoping to establish whether drugs could be developed to cut off the blood supply to prostate cancer tumours, preventing them from growing and spreading.

The second study at the Queen’s University Belfast and led by Dr Helen McCarthy, is underway to determine whether a new gene therapy system could stop advanced prostate cancer tumours, whilst sparing healthy tissue. Both projects, which will take place over a three year period, finishing in 2013, could potentially yield significant improvements in the treatment of prostate cancer, a disease which affects more than 250,000 men in the UK.

The funding is spearheaded by Mike Gooley, CBE and founder of Trailfinders, the specialist tailormade travel company. Mike, who is also a Patron of the Charity, has been an active supporter since 1997, donating more than £1 million to The Prostate Cancer Charity over the last 13 years, through the Mike Gooley Trailfinders Charity.

Since the Charity launched in 1996, it has invested £9.5 million in prostate cancer research across the spectrum from laboratory work, clinical research with patients, to survivorship research into the physical, psychological and emotional issues affecting men with prostate cancer and their families.

Mike Gooley CBE said: Although I have no direct experience of prostate cancer, it was clear to me that research funding for this form of cancer was very much lagging behind the investment that had gone to other types of cancer.  It also occurred to me that the very low level of research and knowledge about the disease presented an opportunity for rapid advancements. After finding out about The Prostate Cancer Charity and learning more about this disease I made up my mind straightaway to make a substantial contribution to this vital work. Since then the Mike Gooley Trailfinders Charity has made 12 donations including funding two studentship programmes totalling over £1 million. I am very proud to be a Patron and supporter of this truly worthwhile cause.”

Dr Kate Holmes, Research Manager at The Prostate Cancer Charity said: “Medical research is vitally important if we are to stop men dying of prostate cancer and improve the lives of men living with the disease. Thanks to this generous funding, the Charity has been able to commission this important research, which could potentially have a significant impact for thousands of men. Only with continued investment into research can we create a future where men’s lives are no longer limited by prostate cancer.”