The first regional centre of excellence in the fight against prostate cancer is to be established by Queen’s University Belfast.
A total of £5 million will be invested over five years on the collaboration between researchers in Belfast and Manchester.
Prostate is the most common cancer among men, with 40,000 new diagnoses every year in the UK.
Experts will focus on improving treatment for men with advanced disease and ensure lab breakthroughs are translated into patient benefits as quickly as possible.
Professor David Waugh from Queen’s said: “The Belfast-Manchester centre of excellence provides a rare opportunity to bring together an international team of experts in radiation, biomarker discovery, genetic modelling and tumour biology who will use their individual talents in a collective and focused manner to make significant discoveries to benefit and extend the lives of men with prostate cancer.”
The scientific co-director of the centre added: “The scale and duration of funding available through the programme enables clinicians and scientists to tackle major clinical problems and more importantly, the longer timeframe also enables the team to ensure that our scientific progress has a clear clinical line-of-sight, and that we can begin to apply this new knowledge into clinical practice - resulting in more immediate benefits for those affected.
“I am extremely excited about what we can achieve.”
Over five years, researchers in Belfast and the University of Manchester will identify men at high risk of aggressive disease and find out which patients respond best to various treatment options - an approach often referred to as “personalised” medicine.
Cancer specialists will also refine new and existing treatments like radiotherapy to improve how well they work for advanced prostate cancer, including that which has spread to the bones.