The Centre for Cancer Immunology brings together world-leading specialists from a range of disciplines to harness the power of immunity in the fight against cancer.

Scientists, clinicians, technical experts and patients collaborate in a creative, interactive environment, generating new knowledge and applying it seamlessly in exciting new immunotherapy treatments.

The idea for the Centre came in 2012 when the University of Southampton received a gift of £10 million by anonymous donor who want it to be spend on cancer immunology research. It is the largest single gift in the University’s history and launched a new campaign to raise an extra £15 million to build the Centre.

Below are some key milestones in the You’re It campaign.

Centre for Cancer Immunology


July: The University is gifted £10m by an anonymous donor. It is announced that the donation will be used to build the UK’s first centre dedicated to cancer immunology research.



June: The Wilkinson Charitable Trust – established by Guernsey residents Jim and Peggy Wilkinson – donates £1m. The University launches a public campaign to raise £25m to build the Centre for Cancer Immunology.

August: £480,000 is awarded by the Wolfson Foundation to build immunomonitoring laboratories. The donation recognises the University’s outstanding work in translating research into treatments.

November: Internationally renowned cancer immunology scientist Professor Tim Elliott is appointed as the Director of the new Centre.


February: The Centre passes 75% funded thanks to £4.5m from the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership and Southampton City Council awards planning permission.

June: A time capsule is buried at the Centre’s building site in a ceremony featuring ex-Saints forward Matt Le Tissier. It contains a pledge reaffirming the University and University Hospital Southampton’s commitment to finding a cure for cancer and a picture drawn by a clinical trial patient.

October: Major development in the construction work as the Centre’s concrete frame is completed.


Centre for Cancer Immunology


January: £1.35m donation from alumnus James Vernon and his wife Mindy. Total fundraising reaches £20.5m.

July: Music stars Coldplay make a significant contribution. Drummer Will Champion’s parents were senior academics at the University. His mother died of cancer in 2000. Total now stands at £21.6m.

October: Anonymous donor from Guernsey pledges £2m. Total raised is £23.8m. Professor Tim Elliott says: “We are within touching distance of our new Centre being a reality.”

December: Fundraising passes £24m. Less than £1m is required to hit target.

Centre for Cancer Immunology


February: The University announces it has reached its fundraising target, six months ahead of schedule. Professor Sir Christopher Snowden, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton, is “delighted and proud”, announcing the achievement on 4 February, World Cancer Day. He says: “The next few years will see great advances in immunotherapies for cancer with the University of Southampton at the very forefront of discovery.”

March: Cancer scientists begin to move into the Centre and start a new wave of research collaborations.

July: The Centre for Cancer Immunology officially opens, with celebratory events attended by donors, patients and staff.


The future

The campaign was never just about the bricks and mortar. The talent and the equipment within the Centre will deliver the breakthroughs we so desperately need to find a cure for cancer. That is where the Cancer Immunology Talent Fund comes in.

The Cancer Immunology Talent Fund will allow us to recruit the best scientists in the world, with access to cutting-edge equipment. To find out about how to donate to the Fund, click here.

It was amazing to see the building, the design, the equipment, but more so to hear the views of all the staff who obviously work as a team and were delighted to see the Centre lay-out reflect progressive ways of working and conducting research

Jean Bayliss , Patient