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Imran opens cancer centre
Bradford University’s Chancellor Imran Khan has announced a new scholarship that will link the city’s “flagship” cancer research facility with his own hospital in Pakistan.
The cricketer turned politician was at the university today to officially open the Institute of Cancer Therapeutics.
He used the celebration as a stage to announce a three-year student scholarship that will see an academic from his own Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital and Cancer Research Centre come to Bradford to do a PhD.
He said: “This scholarship is vitally important to us. Pakistan has almost twice as many people than here yet only one cancer specialist hospital and research centre which is why such a partnership will be a great help to us as well as the wide world.”
His hospital, which he dedicated in 1996 to his mother who died from the disease, relies on donations to treat 70 per cent of its patients free.
Just before unveiling the commemorative plaque at the front of the Institute, just off Richmond Road, he said: “It’s hard to believe I was standing here only three years go laying the foundation stone. We are building a new block at the hospital in Pakistan and if it only goes up half as quick I’ll be happy.”
Professor Laurence Patterson, who is director of the Institute, said the official opening was a way of letting people know “we’re open for business and we’re in the business of anti-cancer drug discovery”.
Bradford academics have been carrying out research work in the building since October, 2006. It is home to a bio-science incubator facility, enabling them to take academic research from the lab to phase I clinical trials, giving the university ownership of drugs developed in the city. The ICT is the only institute regionally and one of a handful of centres with the UK that is able to do this The researchers have several drug discovery projects on the go, with a focus on new treatments which do not cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, bone marrow suppression or hair loss.
Two drugs are in phase II clinical trials – AQ4N – a treatment for brain tumours and E09, a treatment for bladder cancer.
The team is also in the early stage of collaboration with a company called Modern Bioscience to develop drugs which destroy the blood supply to tumours.
It costs upwards of £3 million a year to fund the work of the institute, funded in main by Yorkshire Cancer Research, as well as grants from research councils, Government and industry.
The Bradford team is part of the Experimental Cancer Medicines Centre, along with colleagues in Leeds, Hull and York, and has strong links with clinicians at St James’s Institute of Oncology, one of the largest specialist cancer treatment centres in Europe.
These links facilitate ground-breaking phase I trials – giving Bradford its current credibility in the world of cancer research – a credibility first established when two scientists working in Bradford, George Watson and Robert Turner, first developed chemotherapy.