Cancer Research UK is investing £14m into a new initiative called CRUK City of London Centre. Last year the UK had the highest levels of venture capital funding, the most initial public offering (IPOs) and greatest number of drug candidates in the pipeline compared with countries across Europe. Cancer research said it hopes the initiative will attract “millions in capital investment as new companies are formed, and industry partners move in to translate the most promising discoveries into marketable therapies.”
London’s top research centres will collaborate on cancer biotherapeutics, with experts from institutions such as the Francis Crick Institute, King’s College London, UCL and Queen Mary University of London working together on projects like imaging, clinical trials and tumour evolution. Brain and lung tumours that are difficult to treat will be a main focus, together with childhood cancers. Three research programmes are planned, the first to discover and develop new biologic cancer drugs, with an emphasis on the tumour microenvironment, and boosting immune responses to malignant cells. The second will use imaging techniques to see how biologic treatments can be used with other methods to improve efficacy, and the third will focus on the evolution of cancer and how targeted biotherapies can be used to overcome rapid changes in tumour genetics.
“Cancer Research UK unveils CRUK City of London Centre“
Prof Charles Swanton, CRUK’s chief clinician, said: “We believe that, in the future, the biotherapeutics field will transform cancer care, however, there are several research challenges still to tackle. We need to understand why some patients respond to these new treatments while others don’t, and how to identify which patients might experience harmful side effects. Most importantly, we need to optimise their activity to offer more patients access to these therapies who may benefit.”