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Honoured for Chinese cancer partnership

19 October 2010

Vice-Chancellor Dr David Grant with Professor Xiao Ming Wang, Vice-President, Capital Medical UniversityDr Grant signs the Memorandum of Understanding with Professor Xiao Ming Wang, Vice-President, Capital Medical University

The Vice-Chancellor, Dr David Grant, has been honoured by China’s Capital Medical University in recognition of two institutions’ pioneering cancer research partnership.

Cardiff and Capital Medical have been working together for several years on new approaches to breast and prostate cancer. In 2007, a formal agreement was signed for Capital Medical researchers to come to Cardiff’s Medical School and work with Professor Wen Jiang, from China’s Shandong province and one of the world’s leading cancer researchers.

Since the agreement, six Capital Medical research fellows have come to Cardiff and 14 papers have been written for conferences and journals as a result. The researchers have been working on the metastasis of breast and prostate cancer – how the disease spreads around the body from the original tumour.

Dr Grant accepting the award at Capital Medical UniversityDr Grant accepts his award from Li Ming, Board Chairperson, Capital Medical University

Now Capital Medical University has made Dr Grant an international adviser – the first person from the UK to be honoured in this way. The only other recipients of this prestigious honour have been former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and Professor Tomas Hökfelt, Professor Emeritus at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute.

The ceremony was held in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, attended by representatives of the British Embassy and the British Council in China. Dr Grant received the award from the Chairperson of the Board at Capital Medical University, Li Ming.

A further agreement has also been signed between the two Universities, allowing for 20 more scholars to come to Cardiff over the next four years. The arrangement has been funded by Albert Hung, the Hong Kong-based entrepreneur and philanthropist, who has supported many joint initiatives between Cardiff and Chinese medical scientists.

Mr Albert Hung, Dr Grant and Professor Xiao Ming WangLeft to right Mr Albert Hung, Dr Grant and Professor Xiao Ming Wang, Vice-President, Capital Medical University, at the signing ceremony

Dr Grant said of his award: "I view this as an acknowledgement of the excellent work between our two institutions that has taken place to date. The visiting scholars programme between Cardiff and Capital Medical is a very good example of where international activities can be of great benefit in tackling global issues. The rising occurrence of breast cancer in China is a major issue. By pooling research expertise and sharing knowledge we can build upon the existing knowledge and make real progress."

The honour came as part of a successful visit by a high-level Cardiff team, building on the University’s many strong partnerships in China. Senior researchers from Cardiff Medical School spoke at the Capital International Cancer Conference for 2010. Professor Jiang spoke on metastasis while the other speakers were:

Professor Malcolm Mason – new developments in radiation treatment of prostate cancer

Professor Paul Morgan (Dean, Cardiff School of Medicine) – the role of the complement system in cancer

Professor Robert Mansel – Research into sentinel node biopsy, which is now saving many breast cancer patients from unnecessary surgery.