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£14m investment marks first step towards new London Cancer Hub

LCH 4

Architect’s drawings of the LCR

Ambitions to create the world’s leading hub for cancer research and treatment have taken an important first step forward as the London Borough of Sutton invests £14 million in NHS land needed to develop the site.

Sutton Council has purchased more than 22,000 square metres of land in the first stage of a planned major expansion and redevelopment.

The London Cancer Hub is a partnership between the London Borough of Sutton and The Institute of Cancer Research, London, which seeks to deliver major benefits for cancer patients and the local, London and national economy.

The project has the support of The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and the Greater London Authority. The partners have been working closely with the local Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust – owner of a substantial amount of unused land on the site.

The London Cancer Hub is intended to be a global centre for cancer innovation, bringing together scientists, doctors, life-science companies and a new science-specialist school. The project seeks to expand and enhance an existing site in Sutton, south London, which houses ICR and Royal Marsden facilities along with Epsom and St Helier buildings.

Purchasing the land is a key milestone for the project, and clears the way for Sutton Council and its partner, the ICR, to seek a commercial partner to help drive redevelopment of the site. The move is a critical first step in what is eventually expected to be a £1bn project, predominantly funded through the private sector.

The London Cancer Hub plans eventually to cover 265,000 square metres, doubling the space available on the site for cancer research, treatment, education and enterprise.

Councillor Ruth Dombey, Leader of Sutton Council, said: “Sutton Council’s investment in The London Cancer Hub demonstrates our commitment to the borough and the future prosperity of local children and families. The London Cancer Hub can become a global centre for cancer innovation, providing state-of-the-art facilities and delivering real benefits for patients. It will create new green spaces, community facilities and well-paid, highly skilled opportunities for local people.”

Professor Paul Workman, Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said: “This investment is an important first step towards making The London Cancer Hub a reality. Our ambition is to create a truly world-class cancer research hub, and today’s purchase of land provides the space to expand and enhance life-science facilities on the site. I believe The London Cancer Hub can deliver huge benefits for cancer patients, London’s life-science industry, and the wider economy. We are fully committed to our partnership with the London Borough of Sutton to develop The London Cancer Hub, and look forward to working closely together over the coming years.”

Rajesh Agrawal, London’s Deputy Mayor for Business, said: “London is at the forefront of scientific innovation and this significant investment marks a major move forward towards the creation of a world-leading cancer hub. Given the presence of so many first-class universities and research institutions, not to mention our history of groundbreaking medical advances, it’s no wonder such a facility should be based in the capital. This is further evidence that London is open for business and open to talent in these sectors.”

Find out more about The London Cancer Hub at www.londoncancerhub.org

The London Cancer Hub development framework is available at https://www.sutton.gov.uk/homepage/278/london_cancer_hub

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For more information contact Martin Szybut on 020 8770 4631 or martin.szybut@sutton.gov.uk

Notes to editors

Sutton Council is a forward-thinking local authority leading the way in developing new investment opportunities to benefit residents and businesses. The council has set up its own energy services company, housing development company and had the vision to form a partnership with the ICR to develop brownfield land in Belmont to create the world’s leading cancer research and treatment centre.

The Institute of Cancer Research, London, is one of the world’s most influential cancer research organisations. Scientists and clinicians at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) work every day to make a real impact on cancer patients’ lives. Through its unique partnership with The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and ‘bench-to-bedside’ approach, the ICR is able to create and deliver results in a way that other institutions cannot. Together the two organisations are rated in the top four centres for cancer research and treatment globally.

The ICR has an outstanding record of achievement dating back more than 100 years. It provided the first convincing evidence that DNA damage is the basic cause of cancer, laying the foundation for the now universally accepted idea that cancer is a genetic disease. Today it is a world leader at identifying cancer-related genes and discovering new targeted drugs for personalised cancer treatment.

A college of the University of London, the ICR is the UK’s top-ranked academic institution for research quality, and provides postgraduate higher education of international distinction. It has charitable status and relies on support from partner organisations, charities and the general public.

The ICR and The Royal Marsden expanded to Sutton in the 1950s, and since then have made many major discoveries and developments at the site:

  • Many of the early chemotherapies were discovered and developed on the site, including busulfan, chlorambucil, melphalan and carboplatin, which are still widely used
  • Modern high-precision radiotherapy techniques, which shape beams of radiation to precisely fit the contours of a tumour, were developed here
  • The prostate cancer drug abiraterone – now used as standard treatment throughout the world – was discovered by the ICR at the Sutton site, and early clinical trials were carried out with The Royal Marsden to develop the treatment for patients
  • The first cancer treatment to be targeted at an inherited genetic fault, olaparib, was tested in Sutton in early trials led by the ICR and The Royal Marsden.

The ICR’s mission is to make the discoveries that defeat cancer. For more information visit http://www.icr.ac.uk

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