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Funding for breast cancer research

Published: 25 Jan 2016 10:00

Health Secretary visits new Lanarkshire Beatson.

Funding of £450,000 to support Scottish-led breast cancer research has been made available thanks to a joint partnership between the Scottish Government's Chief Scientist Office and charity Breast Cancer Now.

The investment will be split between cancer research projects, with the first award of £210,000 going to Dr Stephen Tait, from the University of Glasgow's Beatson Institute, to carry out a three year study into breast cancer development.

Health Secretary Shona Robison will announce the funding during a visit to Scotland's newest radiotherapy centre – the £22 million Lanarkshire Beatson, situated at Monklands Hospital in Airdrie.

During her visit to the Scottish Government-funded centre, Ms Robison will tour the facilities, which will see 21,000 cancer patients treatments delivered each year, and meet patients and staff.

Ms Robison said:

"We are committed to providing the best possible care for those with cancer. This includes supporting ground-breaking research, as well as modern treatment facilities like the new Lanarkshire Beatson.

"Our £450,000 joint partnership with Breast Cancer Now will allow for more Scottish-led research into breast cancer development to take place, helping to further enhance our knowledge and treatment of the disease.

"While research into cancer is vital, we must also continue to invest in the treatment for those with the condition. Demand for radiotherapy is set to increase significantly over the next 10 years as more of us live longer and more cases of cancer are detected at an earlier stage.

"This is why the Scottish Government is determined to see more patients treated in modern facilities like the Lanarkshire Beatson.

"The services offered at this centre will give more patients access to diagnostic services and cancer treatment not previously available in the area."

Welcoming the research funding, Mary Allison, Director for Scotland at Breast Cancer Now, said:

"This collaboration between The Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government, Dr Stephen Tait at the University of Glasgow and Breast Cancer Now is exactly the kind of partnership we need to help stop women dying from breast cancer.

"Over 1,000 women die from breast cancer each year in Scotland - they are mothers, grandmothers, daughters and friends. Every partnership and investment in research gets us closer to our vision that by 2050 no women will die of breast cancer."

Dr Stephen Tait, Senior Lecturer at the University of Glasgow, said: "This joint grant from Breast Cancer Now and The Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government will enable studies into the pro-cancer protein MCL-1, which has been linked to poor patient outcomes.

"We hope that this research could lead to new ways to make breast cancer treatments more effective. Exciting research projects are underway across Scotland and it's great that the University of Glasgow is at the forefront of research into this disease."

The Lanarkshire Beatson is a satellite facility for the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre and is equipped with the most advanced technology to deliver the same world-class treatment provided at the Glasgow centre.

The new satellite radiotherapy centre includes two state-of-the-art linear accelerators. These will enable around 80 patient treatments a day for people who require radiotherapy for lung, breast, prostate and rectal cancers. The centre also has a CT simulator to help plan radiotherapy treatment.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Neena Mahal, Chair of NHS Lanarkshire said: "As a partnership project involving five health boards and the Scottish Government, the Lanarkshire Beatson demonstrates our shared commitment to treat more patients in modern facilities and reduce waiting times.

"The Lanarkshire Beatson has only been opened for a short while but has already made a huge difference to our patients by giving them access to diagnostic and cancer treatment services not previously available in Lanarkshire."

Notes to editors

Chief Scientist Office and Breast Cancer Now joint funding scheme:

After a review process, a first award of £210,678 has been made to Dr Stephen Tait, a senior lecturer at the University of Glasgow's Beatson Institute of Cancer Research.

The funding is for a three year study that will examine the role of a protein known as MCL-1 in breast cancer development and whether it can be a target for treatment. The work will build on data that show that high levels of MCL-1 are associated with breast cancer, in particular some of the more difficult to treat forms of the disease.

Breast Cancer Now :

Breast Cancer Now is the UK's largest breast cancer charity working in Scotland, created by the merger of Breast Cancer Campaign and Breakthrough Breast Cancer. They invest around £1.8 million into cutting edge research in Scotland, supporting 21 scientists working on research projects in locations such as Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and St Andrews. Together, they're working to discover how to prevent breast cancer, how to detect it earlier and how to treat it effectively at every stage so we can stop the disease taking lives.

Lanarkshire Beatson:

The Lanarkshire Beatson is a consortium project involving five west of Scotland Health Boards; NHS Ayrshire and Arran, NHS Dumfries and Galloway, NHS Forth Valley, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and NHS Lanarkshire.

Initially, the majority of patients are expected to come from Lanarkshire however, over time, patients from other west of Scotland areas may also be treated at the new facility.