The Royal Marsden and the ICR renew Biomedical Research Centre status

17 October 2022

The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and The Institute of Cancer Research, London (ICR), have successfully renewed their National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre status - the only Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) specifically focused on cancer.

Photo of two researchers in a lab

NIHR Biomedical Research Centres are partnerships between healthcare professionals and academics in the country’s leading NHS trusts and universities. The centres, part of NIHR’s research infrastructure, receive substantial levels of sustained funding to attract the best scientists and create an environment where experimental medicine can thrive.

The NIHR has awarded funding to 20 Biomedical Research Centres across England, to translate scientific discoveries into new treatments, diagnostic tests and medical technologies to improve patients’ lives. This fourth round of NIHR Biomedical Research Centre funding was awarded following an open and competitive process judged by international experts and members of the public.

The funding for NIHR BRC at The Royal Marsden and ICR will underpin a new thematic structure which maps out the journey of a cancer patient and aims to help deliver the key priorities for cancer which are stated in the NHS Long Term Plan. These priorities are early diagnosis, faster diagnosis and molecular diagnostics, more effective treatments, better outcomes and faster recovery. 

The NIHR BRC at The Royal Marsden and ICR has also welcomed two additional partners, Clatterbridge Cancer Centre and City, University of London.  

Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, a specialist cancer hospital, serves a population of 2.4M people in northwest England. The centre brings expertise in radiotherapy, hepatobiliary, head and neck and lung cancers, haemato-oncology, and uveal melanoma. Through their partnership with City, The Royal Marsden will embed health economics into their trials at an early stage.

The partnership will be strengthened by City’s Centre for Healthcare Innovation Research, which examines the wider organisational, cultural, and economic challenges of embedding innovations in healthcare. This will enable research breakthroughs to reach those who need it most.

Dr Sheena Khanduri, Medical Director at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, said: “We are delighted that The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre now becomes a partner with The Royal Marsden in a Biomedical Research Centre, in an important collaboration. 

“We will be working with our colleagues in London on many important areas of research, including immunotherapeutics, precision diagnostics and cancer evolution, advanced technologies for cure, precision therapeutics and cancer treatment effects.

“Being in a BRC enhances our ability to lead extra and more complex clinical research trials and gives all our patients even more access to pioneering research and ground-breaking therapies that will benefit them directly. I would like to thank everyone who has worked on this bid to achieve BRC status and look forward to an exciting and fruitful partnership with The Royal Marsden.”

Dr Charitini Stavropoulou, Co-director Centre for Healthcare Innovation Research (CHIR) at City, University of London said: “At the Centre for Healthcare Innovation Research (CHIR) at City, University of London we are delighted to continue our collaboration with The Royal Marsden to understand the challenges of spreading innovation in cancer diagnosis and treatment, and to support the translation of ideas developed through the BRC into routine NHS practice.”

Professor David Cunningham, Consultant Medical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden and Director of the NIHR BRC at The Royal Marsden and the ICR, said: “I’m extremely pleased to that we have once again secured funding for our Biomedical Research Centre and welcomed two new partners to our BRC, Clatterbridge Cancer Centre and City, University of London. 

“Over the next five years, the BRC will continue to play a crucial role in supporting infrastructure and funding, which will provide researchers at The Royal Marsden and the ICR with more opportunities to develop innovative new treatments for cancer patients.”