Joining forces against cancer

Joining forces against cancer

The University of Sheffield is a leading player in the field of cancer research, both nationally and globally, with researchers paving the way towards finding new and better treatments for this devastating disease.


Their success is in no small part down to the continued backing of organisations such as Weston Park Cancer Charity.


Over the past decade, Weston Park Cancer Charity has donated over £8 million to the University, playing a pivotal role in bringing world-class treatments and research to Sheffield.


Investing in research is an important part of the charity’s work, explains CEO, Samantha Dixon: “Our vision is to help build a better life for those affected by cancer, now and in the future,” she said. “One way we do this is by investing the money raised by our supporters into the cutting-edge research taking place at the University of Sheffield. The University has a reputation as an outstanding centre for research into specific tumour sites, including lung and melanoma, as well as breast and prostate cancer that has spread to bone.”


The partnership between the University and the charity is not only helping clinicians better understand the disease, it is also having a positive impact on local patients.


“We are delighted to have recently supported an initiative to help increase the number of Weston Park patients taking part in early phase clinical trials. Participation will enable them to receive treatments or drugs before they are more widely available on the NHS,” said Samantha.


Ingunn Holen, Professor of Bone Oncology in the Medical School, is one of the scientists whose work has benefited from Weston Park funding. Her research, carried out by an international team of post-doctoral researchers, PhD students and technicians, is focused on understanding how cancer cells spread to the skeleton. She explains more: “In order to develop new and effective cancer treatments, we need to find out how cancer cells spread around the body and form new colonies, including in patients’ bones. This is a particular concern for some of the most common cancers, like breast and prostate cancer. We also need to understand how cancer cells interact with the normal tissues around them and how they manage to avoid being detected and destroyed by the immune system.”


Professor Holen is hugely grateful for any support which can enable her research to continue, commenting: “It is thanks to the support of organisations such as Weston Park Cancer Charity that we can carry out this enormously important work. It is my hope that our findings will find new ways of eradicating these cancers and stop them from coming back.”