23 April 2014 11:42

Volunteers at the coal face of fundraising for cancer research came face-to-face with researchers to see how their hard-earned cash is being put to good use.

As part of its 50th anniversary celebrations Lancaster University, in partnership with North West Cancer Research, incorporating Clatterbridge Cancer Research (NWCR) opened the doors of its research labs to 45 VIP guests.

More than £400,000 worth of research projects relating to cancer detection, prevention and treatment are being funded by NWCR at Lancaster University. The majority of this funding comes from volunteers on committees based all over the North West, including the Lunesdale Committee in Lancashire who have, to date, raised £18,970 for the charity.

The open day offered a unique insight for these fund raisers, into some of the NWCR-funded cancer research projects currently being undertaken by specialist research teams at the University.

Dr Nikki Copeland and Dr Sarah Allinson, who both received research grants from NWCR, presented their projects which examine how cancer can be detected, treated and prevented.

The open day also included a tour of the research laboratories, which allowed guests to see first-hand the type of research their fundraising supports.

Lancashire has one the highest mortality rate for cancer related illnesses of all the local authority areas in the North West. According to statistics from Public Health England, 156 people per 100,000 people living in the area were affected by cancer last year alone, underlining the importance of cancer research and the understanding of cancer prevention and treatment in the region.

Michael Potts, Chairman of NWCR said: “Events like this are extremely important. They allow our fundraisers to see how the money they are working so hard to raise is being spent and hear of the work and progress our researchers are making in their particular field.

“World class research is being carried out at Lancaster University. This could not be done without the support of our fund raising committees. All our researchers recognise the hard work which is being generated by our volunteers, helping to keep this vital research in the region

“It was lovely to be invited to the University today and meet some of the research fellows and we are very grateful for them, for taking the time to show us round their laboratories.”

Dr Sarah Allinson a lecturer in Biomedical and Life Sciences at Lancaster University, echoed Mr Potts’ words on the importance of this funding, after she received a grant from NWCR to further her work on the effect of UVA radiation on human skin cells in relation to skin cancer.

She received £250,000 from the charity over five years, which allowed her to invest in the equipment and time needed to carry out her research.

She said: “I would not have been able to start this particular course of research if it hadn’t been for the support of NWCR. This type of funding is vital for people like me to carry on doing the work we are doing. It offers young researchers the chance to take their first steps into their particular area, allowing them to become independent researchers and most importantly encourages an increase of cancer research work in the North West.

“It was great to meet some of the fundraising volunteers and thank them personally for the work they are doing and also answer any questions they may have about the work we are doing.”

NWCR is the leading regional charity that raises money to achieve a better understanding of cancer, and directly benefits people living in the North West. It is keen to strengthen its presence in Lancashire and is encouraging more volunteers to join its committees as well as looking for those to set up new fund raising committees in the area.