Patients in the worst cancer blackspot of Europe are to get access to cutting edge world-class cancer treatment trials with the launch of a new national cancer research institute.
Glasgow's unenviable position as the cancer capital of Europe could well have helped win its people the best chances of survival that can be offered anywhere in the world.
But the real reason for this success for Glasgow and the West of Scotland is the pulling power of NHS Greater Glasgow's Beatson Oncology Centre and the research and links to Glasgow University and other universities.
The new £100m West of Scotland Cancer Centre – commonly known as the new Beatson - has been confirmed as the home of Scotland's first ever co-ordinating centre for the National Cancer Research Institute.
To be known as the Cancer Clinical Trials Unit Scotland, the centre will have the highest international status for producing world-class cancer research giving thousands more Scots new opportunities to benefit from innovative clinical trials.
Professor Jim Cassidy, of the Beatson Cancer Trials Unit and a driving force behind this exciting development, said: "Already Glasgow is co-ordinating more than 80 revolutionary world-class cancer treatment trials in the fight to beat a range of cancers including breast, lung, colon, bladder, prostate and many more.This means that Glasgow is uniquely placed for the new unit with some of the finest expertise (University and NHS) and the city's status as one with the highest cancer rates in UK."
The new unit is the result of a joint bid by the Beatson Cancer Trials Unit, funded by Cancer Research UK, and the Scottish Executive's Information Services Division.
The role of the unit will be to develop new studies – usually in collaboration with study groups – from concept development right through to statistical input and peer review.
Health Minister Andy Kerr said: "I'm delighted that Scotland's success has been formally recognised and that Glasgow will continue to play their part at the leading edge of cancer research. It demonstrates the real strength of the NHS in Scotland working closely with leading researchers, academics and cancer charities. This greatly enhances quality of care to produce better outcomes for patients
"Scotland's cancer registry is recognised internationally for the completeness and accuracy of the statistics it holds, and provides the epidemiological evidence base for world class research.
"Scotland has a long tradition and world reputation for excellence in clinical research. Our cancer strategy has ensured that more and more patients are now involved in clinical trials and we have now more than doubled that number.
"There is significant evidence that outcomes are improved for those patients treated in centres where research is the norm or for those patients who are involved in cancer trials."
The news of the unit comes as a further boost to Glasgow's fast-growing reputation as a centre of excellence in cancer research, treatment and facilities.
Its follows hot on the heels of the recent announcement of £8milion funding for a centre dedicated to research into leukaemia – which will also be based beside the new Beatson on the Gartnavel site in Glasgow.
Professor Cassidy added: "Becoming a co-ordinating centre for the National Cancer Research Institute will attract significant funding from across the globe to enable novel and exciting new clinical trails and research.
"Scotland is already home to some ingenious cancer research but with this endorsement we will be able to co-ordinate all the work underway across the country.
"And with such a force of expertise and opportunity we will be able to attract some of the top cancer researchers from all over the world to work in Scotland."
The Beatson Oncology Centre is the lead non-surgical cancer centre for the West of Scotland.The centre offer the full range of regional oncology services and some national services, including sarcoma, prostate brachytherapy and ophthalmic oncology.
Record levels of investment are being ploughed into cancer services in the west of Scotland to develop some of the finest professional facilities for the treatment of cancer.£103 million of treasury funding is being invested in a new West of Scotland Cancer Centre on the Gartnavel site in Glasgow; this new state-of-the-art facility will open in 2007 and will include a package of the most advanced equipment available in the world including eleven specialist radiotherapy linear accelerator machines.
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