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Science Minister impressed on visit

22 May 2010

Left to right, Professor Paul Morgan, Gareth Griffiths, Lesley Griffiths and Professor Alan ClarkeLeft to right, Professor Paul Morgan, Gareth Griffiths, Lesley Griffiths and Professor Alan Clarke

Lesley Griffiths, Welsh Assembly Government Deputy Minister for Science, Innovation and Skills, has visited the Cardiff Cancer Research UK Centre to learn more about the groundbreaking work of local researchers and doctors to beat cancer.

Ms Griffiths talked with Professor Alan Clarke, Director of the Centre, and Professor Paul Morgan, Dean of the School of Medicine, about the innovative research being undertaken in Cardiff.

The Cardiff Centre is a partnership between Cancer Research UK, Cardiff University, Velindre NHS Trust and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. Its main aims are to boost research activities in Wales and increase the rate at which findings are translated into therapies for different types of cancers.

Teams at the Centre will focus on research into leukaemia and bowel, breast and urological cancers – including prostate, bladder and kidney cancer. The researchers aim to translate laboratory discoveries into effective new ways to diagnose, treat and prevent cancer. A particular strength will be research into key genes that cause cancer, which will help doctors tailor treatment more precisely to individual patients. The laboratory-based discoveries will be investigated further using clinical trials and other well-designed studies to determine the benefit to cancer patients within the NHS.

The Deputy Minister then accompanied Gareth Griffiths, Scientific Director of the Wales Cancer Trials Unit, School of Medicine, on a tour of the Unit to see the different stages of developing a clinical trial.

Ms Griffiths applauded the ground breaking work being undertaken at the Cardiff Centre and said: "I have been extremely impressed by what I have seen, particularly the high level research being carried out into the early diagnosis and treatment of a number of cancers.

"It illustrates the vital role of research in the medical and health sectors and the potential benefits this could bring to people worldwide. Wales has an outstanding reputation for innovation and expertise in this field and I am delighted to hear of plans that will boost research activities in Cardiff."

Professor Alan Clarke said: "This new centre establishes Cardiff as one of the key cancer research sites both nationally and internationally, but most importantly it will substantially help us to translate scientific breakthroughs into improved cancer patient care."

Tim Maughan, Deputy Director, Cardiff Cancer Research UK Centre, said: "The Cancer Research UK Centre in Cardiff will help to improve the understanding of how cancer develops; it will improve our ability to bring new treatments for cancer to the people of Wales and to improve the research into prevention of cancer across Wales."

Professor Paul Morgan said: "Cancer research is one of the major strengths of Cardiff University and it is great to see this recognised externally through the award of Cancer Research UK Centre status."

Gareth Griffiths said: "The Cancer Research UK funding of a Centre is bringing together the many different types of cancer researchers within Cardiff University Cardiff & Vale University Health Board and Velindre NHS Trust, enabling the collaborative development of new treatments for cancer, and ways to help prevent getting cancer in the first place, which will benefit the people of Wales and beyond."

Caption: Left to right, Professor Paul Morgan, Gareth Griffiths, Lesley Griffiths and Professor Alan Clarke.