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Enabling research

The research we support and the clinical trials we enable change and save lives all over the world.

Hands with blue gloves on using a syringe to fill a test tube on a laboratory bench.

We enable research

Cancer survival rates have more than doubled since Weston Park Hospital opened in 1970, with some incredible advances. Only around 44 per cent of women with breast cancer survived in the 1970s. Now, more than 77 per cent live for at least 10 years after diagnosis.

That’s thanks, in large part, to research – a huge part of what we fund. We support vital research and clinical trials of global relevance, enabling our medical professionals to understand and treat cancer better. This changes and saves lives.

“There are a lot of people that can thank Weston Park for many, many years of life – normal life. I’m extremely proud of everything we’ve achieved, taking on new developments and treatments and I’ve been proud of the enhancements that Weston Park Cancer Charity has enabled.” - Professor Barry Hancock

Cancer Clinical Trials Centre (CCTC)

We fund 13 posts at the Cancer Clinical Trials Centre (CCTC), which was established more than 20 years ago with the support of Weston Park Cancer Charity. The posts we fund vary from research nurses to data managers to lab technicians to pharmacy technicians, to help the CCTC run cutting-edge clinical trials. These trials provide patients in our region with the opportunity to access new treatments not yet widely available, and allow Sheffield to take part in helping cancer treatment keep improving.

Oestrogen in breast cancer

The role of oestrogen in treating breast cancer spread. A previous study carried out at Weston Park showed that drugs called bisphosphonates are effective at preventing breast cancer from spreading to the bones in post-menopausal patients, but not in pre-menopausal patients. This follow-up research project has shown that high levels of oestrogen interfere with the activity of this treatment, but that immunotherapy drugs might be a way to counteract this effect.

Gestational trophoblastic disease

We’re funding research into developing new ways of diagnosing benign vs malignant forms of gestational trophoblastic disease. This will save patients extended periods of anxious waiting and allow quicker progress to treatment where needed. The same technology is also being used to improve treatment decisions by better identifying patients who should be put directly onto stronger chemotherapy as they are unlikely to respond to milder treatment.

Head and neck cancer sensitivity to radiotherapy

Radiotherapy to treat head and neck cancer is often limited to avoid damage to delicate tissues in the area. This research project is testing if a drug can make head and neck cancer cells more sensitive to radiation, which would allow a stronger anti-cancer effect without increasing side effects.

Predicting treatment response in soft tissue sarcoma

Soft tissue sarcomas have very varied responses to the same drug, with patients benefitting greatly and other patients being resistant. We’re funding research to explore ways to predict which patients will benefit, and whether there is a way to make resistant tumours respond to treatment.