The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust


Directors appointed to lead new Cancer Research Centre

1 July 2020

A major new interdisciplinary research centre has been launched with the aim of putting Leeds at the forefront of global efforts to tackle cancer.  

The Leeds Cancer Research Centre (LCRC) is a partnership between the University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. It brings together outstanding scientists and clinicians across discipline boundaries to deliver world-leading cancer research that ultimately improves patient outcomes.

The LCRC will build not only on the strong reputation for cancer research at the University but also at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust which runs the Leeds Cancer Centre at St James’ Hospital, one of the leading cancer treatment centres in the UK.

Two internationally acclaimed researchers have been appointed to lead the Centre.

UniOfLeeds CancerResearch Ladbury and Sebag M 0061 002 v2The Clinical Director is (right) Professor David Sebag-Montefiore, a clinical oncologist who has led clinical trials that have revolutionised the treatment of anal and rectal cancers using radiotherapy.

He directs the Leeds Cancer Research UK Centre of Excellence for Radiotherapy Research and in 2019 was awarded the prestigious Gold Medal by the Royal College of Radiologists recognising his outstanding international contribution to Clinical Oncology.

He said: “I am passionate about bringing together the best minds from traditionally distinct disciplines to solve the big research questions that will improve the lives of cancer patients. This simple and powerful objective is at the heart of what the new research centre will do.

“We will create new opportunities for collaboration between the laboratory and clinic and foster a vibrant interdisciplinary community that pushes the boundaries of cancer research.”

The Scientific Director is (left) Professor John Ladbury whose ground-breaking research has shown how disruption to the signalling system within a cell can trigger cancer.

He said: “I am excited by the opportunity to bring researchers together at the biological, clinical and physical sciences interface, and harness new innovative approaches to accelerate and translate scientific discoveries to the clinic.

“Through active research partnerships with the Trust, leading institutions, industry and funders, Leeds will generate world-leading research that will shape better patient outcomes".

 Julian Hartley, Chief Executive of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS trust, said: “We are proud to work in collaboration with the University of Leeds and LCRC to support world-leading research as an integral part of patient-focused care.

As a leading cancer centre our aim is always to provide the best and most effective treatments for our patients. We believe that by fostering closer links between clinicians and scientists we can transform our understanding of cancer and accelerate the development of new and kinder treatments.”

Sir Alan Langlands, Vice Chancellor of the University of Leeds said: “Cancer research is at the heart of the University’s strategy and we are fully committed to high standards in cancer care and the science that underpins it.

“The LCRC provides an excellent platform to link the laboratory to the clinic, enabling convergence of our significant strengths in structural biological, clinical research, physical sciences and engineering to address one of medicine's toughest challenges.”

Curing cancer remains one of the biggest global challenges. Each day, there are around 450 deaths in the UK and 24,000 deaths globally, according to figures from Cancer Research UK.    

The LCRC will bring interdisciplinary teams of researchers together including biologists, chemists, engineers, data scientists, clinicians and experts in AI, and create new opportunities for collaboration.

The Centre will also train and nurture the next generation of top-flight cancer researchers.