Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu


Pioneering treatment extends to China

01 November 2011

China cancer deal - webProfessor Hywel Thomas and Dr Qi Zhou sign the new agreement, watched by First Minister Carwyn Jones (between Professor Thomas and Dr Zhou) and Professor Jiang (to the right of Dr Zhou).

Surgical treatment which is helping thousands of British breast cancer patients could soon be helping patients in China.

Cardiff University scientists, who developed sentinal node biopsy training in the UK, will help establish it as a standard technique in one of China’s leading cancer hospitals.

The arrangement is part of a new partnership signed by the University and Chongqing University during a Welsh Government business and education trip to China led by First Minister Carwyn Jones.

Sentinal node biopsy was pioneered by Professor Robert Mansel, of the University’s School of Medicine. It means breast cancer patients need only have one lymph node removed from the armpit to check if the cancer has spread. Previously, all the lymph nodes had to be removed, often unnecessarily. The technique has now been rolled out across the UK, saving thousands of patients from surgery and discomfort every year.

Under the new agreement, Cardiff will help establish a practical and standardised approach to sentinel node biopsy at Chongqing, which is the most advanced cancer hospital in Western China, with more than 1,000 beds. The agreement will also allow doctors and researchers from Chongqing to visit Cardiff for training and research directed by Professor Wen Jiang in the School of Medicine. Cardiff and Chongqing will also conduct joint research projects on breast cancer and hope to extend this to other tumours, such as lung and prostate cancer in time.

The agreement was signed at a ceremony at Chongqing by Cardiff University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor, Engagement and International, Professor Hywel Thomas and the Director of Chongqing Cancer Hospital, Dr Qi Zhou.

First Minister Carwyn Jones, who attended the signing, said: "Cancer has become a leading killer in both Wales and Chongqing so I am delighted to see Cardiff University and Chongqing Cancer Hospital joining forces to advance research and training to combat this disease.

"I hope this important link will further strengthen the relationship between Wales and Chongqing and that the outcomes of the collaboration will benefit people in our two nations and beyond."

Professor Ling Zhang, Deputy Director of Chongqing Health Bureau said she was very pleased to see colleagues from Cardiff and Wales and particularly grateful for the First Minister’s support for the new agreement. She said: "This marks the beginning of a new chapter in our relationship and collaboration between the two institutes. I hope there will be fruitful research projects and exchange of scholars over the years to come."

During the visit Professor Wen Jiang and Professor Robert Mansel also delivered lectures to the Chongqing International Cancer Forum. Professor Jiang spoke on "Molecular and cellular basis of cancer metastasis" and Professor Mansel on "Sentinel node therapies in breast cancer, state of the art."