The European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute will establish Cardiff University as an international leader in the field of cancer stem cell research. The ultimate aim will be to develop new cancer therapies which will make a real difference to the lives of patients.
A self-renewing colony of breast tumour cells containing cancer stem cells, from a slide created by Dr Richard Clarkson and colleagues, School of Biosciences.
Cancer stem cells offer the potential to transform the way we tackle disease. There is evidence that they play a key role in the creation and growth of tumours, and the way they spread around the body. If this is correct, it may be possible to treat cancer more effectively by concentrating on the stem cells alone, rather than all the cells in the tumour, as current treatments do.
The study of cancer stem cells is in its infancy. The UK needs a strong specialist centre focusing specifically on this research, to take its place with the very best such institutes around the world. The European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute aims to fill this role.
We intend to build on Cardiff University’s existing strengths in basic science, in the development of new drugs and therapies, and in the planning and conduct of clinical trials. We will also attract and nurture international research talent in this field, from the most senior level to the most promising postgraduate students.
We envisage that the Institute will act as a catalyst for new collaborations both across the University and with UK and international partners. We intend to be recognised as the UK Centre for cancer stem cell research, attracting support and funding from organisations and individuals keen to see breakthroughs in the field.
The initial task will be to improve our understanding of cancer stem cells and the role they play in a range of cancers. From there we hope to develop new therapies which can be shown to make a real difference in the clinic. Ultimately, we aim to transform the survival rates for patients suffering from all types of cancer.