The purpose of The Christopher Clarke Cancer Research Fund (CCCRF) is to provide funds to develop and support a programme of research in to the causes of brain cancer and to improve the diagnosis and treatment of this distressing condition.
Since the inception of the fund, significant strides have been made, developing the provision of infrastructure and facilities for brain cancer research and bringing together key neuro-surgeons, cancer physicians and other research active doctors, scientists and technicians in the field to help to acquire funds to match those from the CCCRF.
The main purpose is to develop a permanent scientific post in the University of Manchesterís cancer research laboratories. The scientist involved with this work will undertake research on brain tumours and brain tumour tissue removed from children, teenagers and adults diagnosed with and undergoing treatment for brain cancer in the North West of England.
The first major step in this process, which will be completed in the Autumn of 2009, is to collect the tissue from all the brain tumours diagnosed in recent years in Manchester and to store them in the central repository of the Manchester Cancer Research Centreís (MCRC) tissue bank.
This is a new and exciting facility which has been opened in the last 2 years at The Paterson Institute for Cancer Research at The Christie Hospital in Manchester. The MCRC tissue bank has the staff and resources to prepare the tumour tissue, categorise and grade this accurately and then to match this with patient related information. This is an invaluable resource and will be made available to scientists from the University of Manchester and elsewhere, who are involved in cancer research in general. Access to this tissue will mean that they can focus their efforts specifically on discovering new knowledge relating to brain tumours, which will help with the understanding of the causes of this disease and thereby improve the means by which the condition can be prevented or treated when it occurs. This resource has not previously been available in the North West and the lack of this facility has hindered research significantly.
In addition to this, special tissue collection technicians have been employed by the MCRC and they will collect tissue from all future new cases unfortunate enough to develop brain cancer in Greater Manchester and the North West. This tissue will be transported direct to the tissue bank with the consent of patients and their families, enabling new avenues of research to be initiated in a manner which is currently impossible.
This facility will be one of the first in the country to be able to do this and it will be one of the largest such tissue banks in Europe. Its presence also links together some of the best cancer researchers in the country, focussing their efforts on this under-researched area.
In parallel with this development is the main CCCRF initiative to provide money for salary and laboratory funding for a basic cancer scientist who will focus specifically on brain cancer research in the North West. This will enable the development of a research group which will be able to take and develop the findings from world leading research in other cancer areas and apply these to this area of cancer medicine.
This post will link with the Departments of Neurosurgery and Pathology at Salford Royal and with The Christie cancer team dealing with brain tumours. The scientist will also work closely with the world leading department of Neuro-Radiology in Manchester lead by Professor Jackson, a recognised international authority in the field of brain cancer research.
Once this post is initiated it is planned to expand the number of scientists and technicians involved in the research programme by applying to cancer research funds to study key areas involved in the genesis of brain tumours. This will generate a critical mass of intellectual expertise which will be able to continue to direct and develop world leading research in this critical area of cancer medicine in the coming years.