State-of-the-art research centre will transform cancer treatment

  • The state-of-the-art facility is set to pull in more world-class scientists to the city
  • The three Manchester Cancer Research Centre partners have been working closely together since 2006

A new £28.5m research centre that will transform cancer treatment has opened in Manchester

The University of Manchester building in Withington will be home to researchers from the Manchester Cancer Research Centre (MCRC) – a partnership between Cancer Research UK, The University of Manchester and The Christie NHS Foundation Trust.

The state-of-the-art facility, located opposite The Christie and the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, is set to pull in more world-class scientists to the city, boosting research and helping to get improved treatments to patients faster.

Director of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre, Professor Nic Jones, said: “I am thrilled to see the building open as it looks absolutely fantastic.

“The new research centre will make a tremendous difference to the way cancer is treated in the future. The new facilities will allow us to progress personalised cancer treatments which will be the way forward for future generations diagnosed with the disease. We will know more about an individual patient’s disease characteristics which will help to lead directly to better treatments and outcomes.

“The new centre will ensure we provide outstanding opportunities and a vibrant environment for researchers, clinicians and external partners to work together towards our vision through a single-site 'bench to bedside' approach.

“I’ve always been extremely proud to work in Manchester which has such a strong legacy in cancer research. The new centre will attract world class scientists and help to save thousands of lives both here and around the world.”

Cancer remains one of the major healthcare challenges worldwide, in the UK and in the North West. In Greater Manchester alone, about 13,200 people are diagnosed with the disease every year – that’s 36 people affected every day.

The three Manchester Cancer Research Centre partners have been working closely together since 2006 and jointly funded the construction of the new facility which will provide greater opportunities to work collaboratively under the same roof.

The flagship building provides more than 6,000m2 for expansion of research activity and has been designed to maximise the sharing of ideas and collaborations between scientists and clinicians. Cancer experts will be able to use a comprehensive array of new technologies and equipment within the new infrastructure. The building houses meeting rooms, laboratories, a lecture theatre and a café area for the public. It is set to provide space for around 250 staff.

The design also includes a rainwater harvesting system to collect rain runoff from roof areas, and to supply recycled water to the building.


The University of Manchester’s President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell said: “Cancer is one of the world’s most pressing health issues and as such the University has identified it as one of its key areas for research. This wonderful building is a significant milestone in meeting this challenge and will give our researchers new and better opportunities to develop treatments and, ultimately, save lives.”


Watch below for a video of the new building:

Amber Irvine, aged 11, from Ashton-Under-Lyne, helped to dig the first piece of ground for the foundations of the new building in 2012. She also helped to promote the “More Tomorrows” fundraising campaign which partly funded the cost of the new building.

Amber, who has three sisters, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) in 2009.

It was initially thought Amber had a virus, but when she was eventually diagnosed with leukaemia doctors warned her mum Samantha that her daughter’s blood count had been so low that had she not been admitted to hospital, she would have died within the next 24 hours.

Amber started an immediate course of chemotherapy treatment while her family was living in Lincolnshire, but they moved to the North West to be close to Samantha’s mother shortly afterwards. Amber completed her two and a half years of treatment at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

Despite Amber being repeatedly admitted to hospital with infections, and having to face losing her hair twice, she made a good recovery.

The Broadoak Primary School pupil still needs regular check-ups, but has been clear from cancer for several years now.

Mum Samantha Irvine said: “A cancer diagnosis is a huge shock for anyone, but is devastating for a child and their family.

“We are delighted that Amber became so involved with the new research centre in Manchester. Without research, Amber might not be here today.

“It is amazing to think back to her digging the first piece of earth a few years ago and now this centre has been built which will change so many people’s lives.”

Notes for editors

An open day will be held in the new building on Saturday June 20. Members of the public are welcome to attend between 10am and 4pm.

Cancer is one of The University of Manchester’s research beacons - examples of pioneering discoveries, interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-sector partnerships that are tackling some of the biggest questions facing the planet.

Media enquiries to:
Jamie Brown
Media Relations Officer
The University of Manchester
Tel: 0161 2758383
Email: jamie.brown@manchester.ac.uk

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