The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and Imperial College London will take forward an exciting new programme of cross-disciplinary research and training after their Convergence Science Centre won renewed funding from Cancer Research UK.
The Centre, directed by Professor Axel Behrens, has been awarded £12.5 million over the next five years for its pioneering research operating across the boundaries of cancer research, engineering and the physical sciences. The award is a sign of Cancer Research UK’s commitment to the ICR and Imperial as a leading centre for convergence science, and will support both cross-disciplinary, cross-institutional research and continuation of our prestigious PhD training programme.
First established in 2018, the renewed Convergence Science Centre will build on its funding and achievements so far in developing research across two themes:
Firstly, it will seek to identify and exploit vulnerabilities in cancer by uniting cancer researchers with engineers and physical scientists to develop new methodologies and technologies for cancer research and treatment.
Secondly, it will carry out research into interventional science, focused on the development and optimisation of novel technologies enabling cancer detection and diagnosis across the patient pathway. It also aims to prioritise innovations that increase the precision of cancer care by improving therapeutic targeting to the tumour, reducing harmful side effects, and improving the quality of life for cancer patients.
The Centre will build on a wealth of expertise and infrastructure across the partner institutions that will allow us to deliver ambitious, cross-disciplinary translational convergence cancer research at the scale required to address unmet medical needs in all cancers, and bottlenecks impeding innovations in our clinical practice.
Professor Axel Behrens, Scientific Director of the Convergence Science Centre at the ICR and Imperial, welcomed the announcement.
He said: “We are delighted to see our funding renewed by Cancer Research UK. We strongly believe our mission to address fundamental cancer challenges with convergence science, and to train the next generation of multidisciplinary cancer researchers and clinicians will help to accelerate cancer research and make discoveries that benefit patients sooner. We believe our joint Cancer Research UK Centre is uniquely placed to achieve this vision, combining the strength of world-leading institutions and scientists at the ICR and Imperial.”
Professor George Hanna, Head of the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College London, said: “Convergence science creates innovations. The combination of our research in engineering, natural sciences, and clinical sciences fostered by Imperial and the ICR will empower us to deliver a meaningful impact on our clinical practice for the benefit of cancer patients.”
Professor Kristian Helin, Chief Executive of the ICR, said: “The ICR’s vision is to bring together the best minds and deliver innovative research to defeat cancer. Forging close partnerships with Imperial and breaking down barriers between different disciplines is a powerful catalyser to achieve our goal.”
The Cancer Research UK Convergence Science Centre is supported through a Cancer Research UK Centre Award.