Big C gives funding boost to new Norfolk medical research centre

Big C, Norfolk’s Cancer Charity, has pledged a contribution of £250,000 to help build a brand new medical research facility as part of Norwich Research Park, to be called the Norwich Medical Research Building, Big C, Norfolk’s Cancer Charity, has pledged a contribution of £250,000 to help build a brand new medical research facility as part of Norwich Research Park, to be called the Norwich Medical Research Building,

Adam Gretton adam.gretton@archant.co.uk
Friday, June 20, 2014
2:17 PM

An appeal to complete the construction of a state-of-the-art medical research building has received a boost after receiving quarter of a million pounds from a Norfolk-based cancer charity.

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Susie Fowler-Watt, Daniel Williams, Big C CEO, and NIkki Morris, of the Big C are set to do a sponsored skydive this weekend.Susie Fowler-Watt, Daniel Williams, Big C CEO, and NIkki Morris, of the Big C are set to do a sponsored skydive this weekend.

Big C has pledged £250,000 to help build the new £19m Norwich Medical Research Building, a joint project between the University of East Anglia and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

The world class facility, on the Norwich Research Park, is currently under construction and will focus on conditions more prevalent amongst older people, including cancer, antibiotic resistant disease, musculo-skeletal disease and gastro-intestinal diseases.

Hospital clinicians will work alongside researchers, focusing on all people newly diagnosed with cancer at the N&N and James Paget University Hospital to develop new treatments. The centre will employ around 150 scientists and a £1m public appeal was launched last year to meet the funding shortfall for the development.

Big C funded scientist, Colin Cooper, who will be one of the professors leading the team of researchers looking into cancer, said they would be concentrating on prostate, breast, gastro and lung cancers.

He said: “Over the past few years there has been a revolution in the way that our genetic material or DNA can be examined. New technologies and approaches, carried out internationally, are proving remarkable insights into how individual cancers develop and how they may be targeted by drugs. In Norwich, we have worked out ways to use this information for patients benefit, particularly for prostate cancer but also for other major cancers including breast, lung and gastrointestinal cancer. Within 2-3 years we hope to use these new approaches to improve survival by personalising cancer treatment.”

The investment is the first big jump in research funding for Big C, which has traditionally focused on small, starter projects.

Nikki Morris, Big C’s head of clinical services, added: “The difference this will make in extending knowledge, understanding and practical applications of research findings will be significant in our mission to work to improve people’s health and wellbeing. This resource will keep Norwich at the forefront of international research excellence with the benefit that the skills and expertise it attracts will enrich the wider scientific health community in Norfolk.”

Around 50 Big C supporters, including Look East’s Susie Fowler-Watt, will be jumping out of a plane this weekend for a sponsored parachute jump. To support them, visit www.justgiving.com/nikkianddanielsbigjump.

Have you got a health story? Email adam.gretton@archant.co.uk

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