WE'VE done it!

The Telegraph & Argus Bradford Crocus Cancer Appeal has hit its target, enabling new cancer drug discovery work to take place in the city.

The campaign has delivered funds to allow the University of Bradford to buy a new cutting-edge proteomics mass spectrometer, which is now being installed at its Institute of Cancer Therapeutics.

The equipment will allow researchers to analyse proteins in cancer cells at a much quicker rate, improving the number of opportunities for the development of new cancer medicines.


Launched in May 2013, the Crocus Appeal was a charitable initiative between the T&A, the University, Yorkshire Cancer Research, and the Sovereign Health Care Charitable Trust.

It followed on from an international breakthrough by scientists at the University in 2011, led by Professor Laurence Patterson, who announced the development of a pioneering cancer ‘smart bomb’ drug that had the potential to destroy solid tumours.

Professor Richard Greene, dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Bradford, said: "This equipment will increase the pace at which we can develop the anti-cancer medicines of the future.

"This state-of-the-art mass spectrometer will greatly help our scientists to understand the roles that particular proteins play in the development and spread of cancer.

"A clearer understanding of which proteins are important will make it possible to design drugs to disrupt the actions of those proteins, and thereby suggest new treatments for cancer.

"The Crocus Appeal has been a tremendous success, and I would like to thank everybody who was involved, including our partners, the businesses, organisations and communities of Bradford, as well as benefactors from further afield, and the worldwide network of Bradford University alumni.

"Their generosity has ensured that scientists at the University are now in an even better position to conduct world-leading research in the area of proteomics, and use that new knowledge to help develop new anti-cancer medicines."

Russ Piper, chief executive of Sovereign Health Care, and trustee of the Sovereign Health Care Charitable Trust, said: "We’re delighted to have contributed £200,000 to the purchase of this piece of equipment and help vital research, carried out in Bradford, continue.

"It was important for us to support the Crocus Appeal as it fits well with the charitable trust’s core objective of helping organisations that improve the health and wellbeing of people in Bradford and the surrounding area.

"We now look forward greatly to seeing the breakthroughs in cancer treatment that this new machine will help make possible."

The appeal was also helped by a donation of £20,000 from the Gannett Foundation, the charitable trust run by the parent company of the publishers of the Telegraph & Argus, and tens of thousands of pounds donated or raised by T&A readers.

Editor Perry Austin-Clarke said: "This is a truly fantastic achievement by the T&A’s readers and, on behalf of the appeal, I would like to thank and congratulate each and every person who fund-raised or made a donation for their amazing support.

"The success of the appeal not only demonstrates yet again the fantastic generosity of our readers, but also the tremendous commitment we have in Bradford and district to beating cancer, from the "Bradford Can...." appeal which established the University’s cancer research chair, to the brilliant “smart bomb” breakthrough of Professor Patterson and his team, to the purchase of this equipment more than a dozen years later which will help carry that battle to new heights in the future.


"Well done, Bradford. We should all be very proud."

Charles Rowett, chief executive officer at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: "We are extremely proud to have been involved in the Bradford Crocus Cancer Appeal.

"The support of people living and working in the city, along with the University’s alumni, has been outstanding, and we’d like to thank everyone who donated towards the cause.

"We are passionate about improving cancer outcomes in Yorkshire, and this includes bringing innovative treatments to our patients.

"This piece of equipment will ensure that Bradford remains at the forefront of cancer drug discovery."

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The new machine which will speed up the work the centre carries out


MONEY donated via the Crocus Cancer Appeal has been used to buy a new high-tech mass spectrometer, replacing a previous machine that is now eight years old. 

Professor Laurence Patterson, the professor of drug discovery at the Institute of Cancer Therapeutics, said the machine was one of only about 10 anywhere in the country, and the only one to be dedicated purely to drug discovery.

The ICT will use the two machines side-by-side, but the new equipment will allow researchers to analyse cancer cells far more quickly. 

“This machine is a state-of-the-art Thermo Fisher scientific mass spectrometer, called an Orbitrap Fusion,” said Professor Patterson. 

“It’s a machine that measures the mass of molecules. By measuring the mass of molecules, we can determine what they actually are, and we use it to determine what proteins are present in cancer cells.

“The proteomics facility here at the University of Bradford has for the last 10 years been interrogating the global protein content of cancer cells, with a view of trying to identifying new targets for drug discovery. 

“We already have a machine to do that, but it is about eight years old now, and it is a bit like your Smart phone.

“If you can imagine what your phone looked like eight years ago, well, this spectrometer is equally advanced. 

“This new machine is something like 10 or 20 times faster at analysing data than our old machine, and it can analyse four or five times more proteins.

“So, we can analyse about 6,000 proteins with this machine, and there are about 10,000 proteins in the average cancer cell, so we can look at the majority of them.”

Mass spectrometry for protein and peptide analysis won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2002 for advancing the way biological problems such as cancer could be studied.