Birmingham Leads Global Fight for New Treatments; HEALTH Clinical Trials Part of Major Research Drive for Better Care

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Byline: ALISON DAYANI Health Correspondent

Birmingham scientists have revealed they are at the forefront of a multi-million pound major research programme which is helping to revolutionise cancer treatment for victims around the world.

More than 250 doctors, nurses and Cancer Research UK-funded researchers in the city are leading the hope for innovative therapies and cures through clinical trials.

They have been pushing forward the boundaries of gene therapy, implantable radiology devices to slow down the growth of pancreatic cancer tumours and new drugs, like Azacitidine, to control leukaemia.

Cancer Research UK teamed up with the Department of Health to make Birmingham University part of a major national network of Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres (ECMC) with trials carried out at Edgbaston's Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Professor Dion Morton, head of the ECMCin Birmingham, said: "There are a range of exciting new options being developed in the treatment of cancer, including more targeted chemotherapy, gene therapy and treatments activating the body's immune system against the disease.

"The new centre will allow us to take these new treatments, being developed in laboratories, and get them into clinical trials, passing the benefits onto patients in the West Midlands as quickly as possible."

Funding of pounds 2 million started in April 2007 for the centre and will continue over the next five years with around 50 patients taking part in experimental early phases of cancer trials in Birmingham every year. …