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Southampton CTU gets cash boost

Published: 15 February 2018
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SOUTHAMPTON doctors and scientists are set to receive a major cash boost for pioneering research into cancer.

Cancer Research UK is planning to invest over £3.5m over the next five years in ground-breaking work at the Southampton Clinical Trials Unit (SCTU)*.

The grant will allow doctors and scientists to continue researching and testing better and kinder treatments for patients. 

The Cancer Research UK Southampton CTU – based at University Hospital Southampton** - gives people with cancer access to innovative treatments.

The latest funding announcement follows a major review by the charity of all its CTUs - resulting in £45m being invested into eight units across the UK, one of the charity’s largest investments in clinical research to date.

The cash injection will not only enable the specialist team to increase the number of early-phase clinical trials being run in Southampton, it will also expand work around cancers where more work is needed to improve survival, such as oesophageal, colorectal, bladder and lymphoma. The money will also support the ongoing ground-breaking work in immunology taking place in the city.  

Professor Gareth Griffiths, Director of Southampton CTU, said: “We are delighted and very proud that Southampton has been given this investment. Our clinical research enables us to translate discoveries from the lab and improve cancer treatments, giving more patients the best chance of beating their disease. We have worked hard over the last five years in developing cutting edge clinical trials in a number cancer types. The new funding will allow us to increase the number of clinical trials we are able to do, and enable us to develop into new cancer areas like oesophageal and bladder, where there is a real patient need to find new effective treatments.”

The Cancer Research UK Southampton Clinical Trials Unit is one of a number of charity-funded facilities in the grounds of the city’s hospital** – there is also a dedicated CRUK centre where a team of clinical scientists and researchers are based, an Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre and a team of Cancer Research UK nurses helping to recruit and care for patients when they access clinical trials.

Prof Griffiths said such a strong research infrastructure, funded by Cancer Research UK, puts the city firmly on the global map.

He said: “Having a concentration of these different types of CRUK research facilities in the same location means we are able to attract the very best academic cancer researchers from across the UK and indeed around the world to work with us. This environment also allows us to collaborate with pharmaceutical companies to access new cancer treatments for our trials.”

Clinical trials are vital to test new treatments. In Southampton, a trial for patients with B-cell Lymphoma has just opened and is in the process of recruiting its first patient. The trial, called RIVA, is looking at combining two drugs - rituximab and varlilumab – for patients who either didn’t respond to initial standard treatment, or whose cancer has returned.  

Cancer Research UK’s CTUs specialise in the design, delivery and analysis of trials that bring the latest scientific developments to patients all over the UK. They’re a vital part of the charity’s research network, helping shape the clinical research landscape in the UK and internationally.

Jenny Makin, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for Southampton, said: “This crucial investment recognises the fantastic research taking place in Southampton. It ensures researchers can take full advantage of our most promising scientific discoveries and translate them into new tests and treatments for patients.

“One-in-two of us will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in our lives - so it’s reassuring to know that, thanks to our supporters, Cancer Research UK is able to fund some of the best and most promising research here in Southampton, to help more people survive.

Jenny continued: “There are so many ways to support Cancer Research UK’s lifesaving work, from signing up to Walk All Over Cancer in March to entering Race for Life, which takes place on Southampton Common on the weekend of June 30-July 1; or giving time to volunteer in our shops.”

“Survival has doubled since the early 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress – but every step our doctors, nurses and scientists take relies on donations from the public and the tireless fundraising of our supporters.”

For more information, visit

*Unit status is awarded to locations performing the highest quality clinical trials research, and the investment supports essential infrastructure and running costs as well as technical staff, equipment and training.

Cancer Research UK funds 8 clinical trials units.

Cardiff University: Wales Cancer Trials Unit
The Institute of Cancer Research: Clinical Trials and Statistics Unit
Queen Mary, University of London: Cancer Prevention and Trials Unit
University College London: CRUK and UCL Cancer Trials Centre
University of Birmingham: CRUK Clinical Trials Unit
University of Glasgow: CRUK Clinical Trials Unit at the Glasgow Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre
University of Southampton: Southampton Clinical Trials Unit
University of Leeds: Leeds Clinical Trials Unit

For more information please visit:


About Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research.
Cancer Research UK’s pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives.
Cancer Research UK receives no government funding for its life-saving research. Every step it makes towards beating cancer relies on vital donations from the public.
Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival in the UK double in the last 40 years.
Today, 2 in 4 people survive their cancer for at least 10 years. Cancer Research UK’s ambition is to accelerate progress so that by 2034, 3 in 4 people will survive their cancer for at least 10 years.
Cancer Research UK supports research into all aspects of cancer through the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses.
Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK's vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.
For further information about Cancer Research UK's work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 0300 123 1022 or visit Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

About University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

** University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust is one of the largest acute teaching trusts in England, with an annual spend of £700 million at three sites across the city of Southampton. It provides hospital services for 1.9 million people living in Southampton and southern Hampshire and specialist services including neurosciences, respiratory medicine, cancer, cardiovascular, obstetrics and specialist children’s services to more than 3.7 million people in central southern England and the Channel Islands.
Every year more than 10,500 staff, including more than 700 consultants, professors and senior lecturers, see 585,000 people at outpatient appointments, deal with 120,000 attendances at the emergency department and treat 150,000 admitted emergency, inpatient or day case patients. In addition, the Trust delivers more than 100 outpatient clinics across the South of England to keep services local for patients. Providing these services costs £1.9 million per day. 



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