Cancer presently kills 7.6 million people worldwide every year.
In the UK, nearly 300,000 new cases are diagnosed annually, 19,000 of them in Wales, accounting for around five per cent of NHS spending. Survival rates, even after treatment, remain tragically low in some cases.
How can we improve survival rates for cancer patients?
Cardiff University is committed to answering this question and to tackling this issue in a radical way by bringing together world-leading specialist researchers from across the disciplinary boundaries to form a new, pioneering Research Institute.
Cancer stem cells offer the potential to transform the way we tackle disease. There is evidence that they play a key role in the creation and growth of tumours, and the way they spread around the body. If this is correct, it may be possible to treat cancer more effectively by concentrating on the stem cells alone, rather than all the cells in the tumour, as current treatments do.
The study of cancer stem cells is in its infancy. The UK needs a strong specialist centre focusing specifically on this research, to take its place with the very best such institutes around the world. The European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute aims to fill this role.
Led by the Institute Director, Professor Alan Clarke, the Institute provides a state-of-the-art research environment for senior academics, Research Fellows and postgraduate students to interact. New early career research fellows have been recruited to work alongside world-leading teams in basic biomedical science and drug development to create a UK-based hub of research excellence to target cancer.
We are convinced that we can make a difference by changing the research landscape in this field – and ultimately, we can transform people's lives.