Prostate Cancer UK

First ever UK Centres of Excellence in prostate cancer research launched by the Movember Foundation in partnership with Prostate Cancer UK

Press release   •   Feb 13, 2014 09:00 GMT

Today the Movember Foundation and Prostate Cancer UK announce the launch of this country’s first ever Centres of Excellence programme in prostate cancer research.

The world-class Movember Centres of Excellence Programme in partnership with Prostate Cancer UK, comprises Belfast-Manchester and the London Consortium, and will see an injection of £10 million over a five year period - the largest single investment in to the disease by the partnership to date. The aim is to accelerate understanding of the disease through innovation, ensuring lab breakthroughs are translated into clinical benefits for men as quickly as possible.

The two Centres will focus on the burning questions in prostate cancer – understanding risk, distinguishing aggressive from non-aggressive disease, and developing better treatments for men with advanced tumours. These research ‘hubs’ will see outstanding teams of internationally recognised scientists from across different disciplines and with expert knowledge of other tumour types, working collaboratively to deliver answers. Although each Centre will have a distinct focus, both will have the overall aim of delivering personalised treatment for men.

Movember UK Country Manager Sarah Coghlan said: “Launching the Movember Centres of Excellence is one of the most significant and exciting milestones in the Movember Foundation’s history to date. Aligned with our focus on collaboration and working closely with our partner Prostate Cancer UK, we're bringing the best in the research world together for a sustained period to have a real impact and to develop real understanding of how to fight this disease. These Movember Centres of Excellence are the first of their kind in the UK focussed on prostate cancer, and they represent the Movember Foundation’s commitment to having an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health. We salute every one of the Mo Bros and Mo Sistas in the UK. This wouldn’t be possible without them.”

Dr Iain Frame, Director of Research at Prostate Cancer UK said: “It is 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, their impact set to be far greater than the sum of their parts. They will also provide a world-class training ground for the scientists of the future, building a legacy of top prostate cancer researchers in the UK and representing lasting hope for those who are affected by the disease now and for years to come.”
The Belfast-Manchester Centre will focus on improving the odds for men with advanced prostate cancer. Researchers at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, based at The University of Manchester, and clinicians at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, will work with clinicians and researchers at the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queen’s University Belfast. They will bring together their existing expertise in prostate cancer research and treatment, and crucial insights contributed by experts in innovation in melanoma, breast and lung cancer research to identify men at high risk of developing aggressive tumours, and assess which patients will respond best to aggressive treatments and who might need aggressive therapy. They will also work on refining new and existing treatments to improve their efficacy for advanced prostate cancer.

Professor Richard Marais, Director of the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute based at The University of Manchester – part of Manchester Cancer Research Centre, will be one of two Scientific Co-Directors of the Centre, alongside Professor David Waugh based at Queen’s University Belfast. Professor Richard Marais said: “This is very exciting for the future of prostate cancer research. We have established a unique collaboration that will bring together knowledge and insights from across different cancers and disciplines, which will enable us to tackle some of the complexities still surrounding this disease from a new perspective. Crucially, by working in partnership we also hope to increase the speed at which lab breakthroughs reach the man in the clinic and have a direct impact on patient outcomes.”
Professor David Waugh, Director of the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queen’s University Belfast said: “The Belfast-Manchester Centre of Excellence provides a rare opportunity to bring 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 to make significant discoveries to benefit and extend the lives of men with prostate cancer. The scale and duration of funding available through the programme enables clinicians and scientists to tackle major clinical problems and more importantly, the longer time frame also enables the team to ensure that our scientific progress has a clear clinical line-of-sight, and that we can begin to apply this new knowledge into clinical practice – resulting in more immediate benefits for those affected. I am extremely excited about what we can achieve.”

The aim of the London Centre of Excellence, led by Professor Johann de Bono, will be to identify the genetic basis of prostate cancers and use that as the basis for individualised treatment. Researchers at the Centre will be based mainly at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, collaborating with colleagues at University College London (UCL) and Imperial College London. Together they will form a united front against prostate cancer. A particular emphasis will be the search for gene signatures that can be used to identify men at high risk of aggressive disease and to optimise treatment choices based on each man’s genetic information. This is an extremely important avenue of investigation in the quest to identify men at risk of aggressive prostate cancer, while avoiding over-treatment of men with low-risk disease. In addition doctors and scientists at the London Centre hope that they’ll be able to deliver new biomarkers to revolutionise prostate cancer medicine.

Professor Johann de Bono, Professor of Experimental Cancer Medicine at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and Honorary Consultant in Medical Oncology at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust said: “This is an incredible opportunity to work with an outstanding group of like minded colleagues which could have a major impact on men suffering from this common disease. In many ways cancer research is like football - teamwork is critical to success. The Centre’s programme will allow us to bring together researchers that can fill key positions in our team and we envision that by working together, we can and will defeat prostate cancer.”

The Centres of Excellence were selected after a rigorous international peer review process. To qualify for Centre of Excellence funding, the lead scientists in the application had to have strong, international track records and their teams needed to demonstrate existing or planned cross-discipline collaborations between basic and clinical scientists.

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Full researcher biographies and additional quotes are available on request as well as further information about the Centres Programme.

For more information or interview please contact Prostate Cancer UK press office on 02033107101 / 02033107188

Notes to Editors

About Prostate Cancer UK:
Prostate Cancer UK fights to help more men survive prostate cancer and enjoy a better quality of life. We support men and provide vital information. We find answers by funding research into causes and treatments. And we lead change, raising the profile of the disease and improving care. We believe that men deserve better.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in men in the UK. Over 40,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year. Every hour one man dies from prostate cancer. One in four Black men will develop prostate cancer at some point in their lives.

Anyone with concerns about prostate cancer can call Prostate Cancer UK's confidential Helpline on 0800 074 8383 or visit www.prostatecanceruk.org. The helpline is free to landlines, staffed by specialist nurses, and open from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday with late opening until 8pm on Wednesdays.

About the Movember Foundation

The Movember Foundation is a global men’s health charity which raises vital funds and awareness for the often ignored issues of men’s health specifically prostate cancer, testicular cancer and men’s mental health. It is responsible for the sprouting of millions of moustaches around the world each November when men become walking talking billboards for men’s health. Mo Bros start the month clean-shaven, and then grow and groom their moustache all month long.

Funds are directed to men’s health programmes which are shaped by the Movember Foundation’s vision to have an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health. Programmes focus on awareness and education, living with and beyond cancer, staying mentally healthy and research. Programmes are delivered by the Movember Foundation directly, and with its men’s health partners in each country. Further information about how the Movember Foundation’s funds are invested can be found at Movember.com

The Movember journey began in 2003 with a few mates in a pub in Melbourne, Australia. The goal was simple – to create a campaign promoting the growth of the moustache among like-minded people and have fun along the way. It is about real men growing real moustaches, talking about real issues to help to change the face of men’s health.

The Movember Foundation now spans the globe across 21 countries. Since inception, a global army of over 4 million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas have grown, or supported the growth of a moustache. To date more than £330 million has been raised globally and 577 men’s health projects are being funded.

For more information and to get involved visit Movember.com. Media enquiries: ukmedia@movember.com

The University of Manchester

The University of Manchester, a member of the Russell Group, is one of the largest and most popular universities in the UK. It has 20 academic schools and hundreds of specialist research groups undertaking pioneering multi-disciplinary teaching and research of worldwide significance. According to the results of the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, The University of Manchester is one of the country’s major research institutions, rated third in the UK in terms of ‘research power’. The University has an annual income of £807 million and is ranked 40th in the world and fifth in the UK for the quality of its teaching and impact of its research.

Manchester Cancer Research Centre

The Manchester Cancer Research Centre (MCRC) is a partnership founded by The University of Manchester (including the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute), The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and Cancer Research UK. The MCRC brings together the expertise, ambition and resources of its partner organisations in the fields of cancer treatment and clinical research and provides outstanding facilities where researchers and clinicians can work closely together. The aim of the MCRC is to improve understanding of how cancer develops, in order to translate basic and clinical research into new diagnostic tests and treatments that benefit cancer patients. More information is available at: www.manchester.ac.uk/mcrc

About The Christie NHS Foundation Trust

The Christie opened in 1901 and is now one of Europe’s leading cancer centres and the largest single-site centre in Europe
Because of its specialist nature, 26% patients are referred to The Christie from outside the Greater Manchester and Cheshire area
It has one of the largest radiotherapy departments in the world as well as centres in Oldham and Salford. It also houses the UK’s largest brachytherapy service
The Christie delivers chemotherapy treatment through the largest chemotherapy unit in the UK, as well as via six other hospitals and its new mobile chemotherapy unit
The Christie is home to the largest single site early phase clinical trials unit in the world, with more than 400 trials taking place at any one time


About the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology, Belfast
The Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology is an interdisciplinary enterprise specialising in catalysing the translation of scientific discovery to innovative clinical application. The Centre specialises in using disease focussed teams of clinicians and scientists working in the key areas of colorectal, ovarian and prostate cancer.
The Centre undertakes high quality pre-clinical research and also enrols over 1250 patients onto clinical trials each year.


The Institute of Cancer Research, London, is one of the world’s most influential cancer research institutes.

Scientists and clinicians at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) are working every day to make a real impact on cancer patients’ lives. Through its unique partnership with The Royal Marsden Hospital and ‘bench-to-bedside’ approach, the ICR is able to create and deliver results in a way that other institutions cannot. Together the two organisations are rated in the top four cancer centres globally.

The ICR has an outstanding record of achievement dating back more than 100 years. It provided the first convincing evidence that DNA damage is the basic cause of cancer, laying the foundation for the now universally accepted idea that cancer is a genetic disease. Today it leads the world at isolating cancer-related genes and discovering new targeted drugs for personalised cancer treatment.

As a college of the University of London, the ICR provides postgraduate higher education of international distinction. It has charitable status and relies on support from partner organisations, charities and the general public.

The ICR’s mission is to make the discoveries that defeat cancer. For more information visit www.icr.ac.uk
The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust
The Royal Marsden opened its doors in 1851 as the world’s first hospital dedicated to cancer diagnosis, treatment, research and education.
Today, together with its academic partner, The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), it is the largest and most comprehensive cancer centre in Europe treating over 50,000 NHS and private patients every year. It is a centre of excellence with an international reputation for groundbreaking research and pioneering the very latest in cancer treatments and technologies.

The Royal Marsden, with the ICR, is the only National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre for Cancer. First awarded the status in 2006, it was re-awarded in 2011. A total of £62 million is being provided over five years, to support pioneering research work, and is being shared out over eight different cancer themes.

The Royal Marsden also provides community services in the London boroughs of Sutton and Merton and in June 2010, along with the ICR, the Trust launched a new academic partnership with Mount Vernon Cancer Centre in Middlesex.

Since 2004, the hospital’s charity, The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, has helped raise over £100 million to build theatres, diagnostic centres, and drug development units.

Prince William became President of The Royal Marsden in 2007, following a long royal connection with the hospital.

For more information, visit www.royalmarsden.nhs.uk