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Big C launches its 35th year anniversary with a major lecture on the future of cancer diagnosis and treatment

Big C launches its 35th year anniversary with a major lecture on the future of cancer diagnosis and treatment

Thursday evening on 23 April, Big C will host a lecture where world leading cancer researchers will deliver presentations on the role of DNA sequencing in the future of cancer diagnosis and treatment and explore the pioneering work taking place in Norfolk at the Norwich Research Park. 

The lecture will be held in Norwich at the newly built and part Big C funded Bob Champion Research and Education Building located close to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital site. It will be the first of a series of lectures, to mark Big C’s 35th anniversary and will be attended by invitees from the Norwich Research Park community and key supporters of Big C. The event is supported by M+A Partners, a firm of chartered accountants and tax advisers based in Norwich.

Above: The Bob Champion Research and Education Building at the Norwich Research Park

The evening will feature a keynote presentation from Dr. James Hadfield of the CRUK Cambridge Institute, outlining his work on Molecular Cancer Medicine. Prof. Dylan Edwards, Chair of Cancer Studies at UEA and Prof. Colin Cooper of the Norwich Medical School will also be highlighting their work and the development of a cancer research hub at the Norwich Research Park. The investment made by Big C & the work of the Norwich Research Park will be endorsed by George Freeman, Minister for Life Sciences.

In 1998 Big C funded the appointment of the first Chair of Cancer Studies at The University of East Anglia, Prof. Dylan Edwards. As his work expanded Big C was a major donor in the setting up of the Bio Medical Research Centre at UEA and continues to pump prime research and researchers at the UEA and across the Norwich Research Park.

In 2011 Big C funded a second key appointment when Professor Colin Cooper took up the post of Professor of Cancer Genetics. Professor Cooper’s work brings genetic biomarkers for cancer and the opportunity for translational research with clinicians, to the direct benefit of Norfolk people. The learning will spread far beyond our county.

Part of the evening will include a cheque presentation of £250,000 from Philip Blanchflower, Chairman of Big C to Professor David Richardson, Vice Chancellor of the UEA for part funding of the Bob Champion Research and Education Building.

Daniel Williams, Chief Executive of the Big C said “I am really excited that Big C will have the opportunity to showcase the important work we have been able to fund as a result of the support we have received from the Norfolk public”.  He added, “There are so many people that still don’t realise that Big C is a local Norfolk charity and that the money we raise is only used to make a difference to the lives of those affected by cancer here in Norfolk”.

Jeremy Robson, Managing Partner of M+A Partners said “It gives us great pleasure to be supporting the Big C lecture in their 35th anniversary year”.  Jeremy added “Like Big C, M+A Partners roots are firmly in Norfolk and we too believe it’s important to make a real difference to those people in this region that need help and support”.

The Big C story:  In 1980, two young men from Norfolk found themselves with cancer and having to travel to London or Cambridge for treatment, often finding this journey harder than the treatment itself. They vowed the people of Norfolk & Waveney would have access to the best treatment and support in their local areas.

Thirty-five years on and this is being realised more than ever; with over £20million being raised since "The Big C Appeal" began in 1980. Surgical and diagnostic equipment at Norfolk's hospitals means more and more people can be treated locally and new equipment in hospitals has meant faster or less invasive treatment for a range of cancers, and funding for open evenings and patient information folders has helped demystify the treatment process. Research across the Norwich Research Park has found some incredible discoveries into cancer; and vital support for those affected by cancer is reaching out to those who need it, closer to them, in the local community.

Today Big C has drop in support and information centres across Norfolk and Waveney, used by thousands of people every year affected by cancer. The centres provide valuable information about diagnosis, treatments, side effects and recovery. Trained nurses and practitioners are also there to provide emotional help, support and complimentary therapies. Welfare advice is also available.  Currently Big C centres exist in Gorleston, Great Yarmouth, Kings Lynn and Norwich, with more to come.  The centres are open to cancer patients, their family, friends and carers.

Biography of speakers:
Prof. Dylan Edwards, Chair of Cancer Studies, UEA -
Prof Dylan Edwards has been Chair of Cancer Studies in the School of Biological Sciences since 1998. He did his undergraduate studies at Cambridge, PhD at UCL and postdoctoral research at the University of Western Ontario and Oxford University. He was an Assistant and Associate Professor at the University of Calgary, Canada from 89-98, before returning to the UK to become Big C Chair of Cancer Studies. Dylan Edwards is a molecular biologist principally inter¬ested in the functions of the human “degradome” – the repertoire of proteases and their inhibitors that cells and tissues use in tissue repair and cancer. From 2004-8 he was the Coordinator of the EU Framework Programme 6 “Cancerdegra¬dome” Project, and subsequently was a partner in the FP7 “SaveMe” project on pancreatic cancer imaging and therapy using nanoparticles. He was Head of School of Biological Sciences at UEA from 2008-13. He has worked extensively with clinicians at the NNUH, with Big C supporting several of his research projects on the roles of proteases in signalling and blood vessel formation (angiogenesis) in cancers.

James Hadfield PhD, Head of Genomics Core, CRUK Cambridge Institute - James got his degree and PhD at the University of East Anglia. He started his career with a Big C funded project to develop a diagnostic test for HER2 positive breast cancer at the old Norfolk & Norwich hospital. Since 2001 he has focused on genomics technologies. He set-up and ran the microarray facility at John Innes Centre. And in 2006 was recruited by CRUK to build the genomics facility at the new CRUK Cambridge Institute, now a Department of the University of Cambridge. His lab focuses on Illumina next-generation sequencing for cancer genomics and he is closely involved in the NGS community, writing a popular blog. He is currently seconded with Genomics England as a sequencing expert for the 100,000 genomes project; and is on the scientific advisory board of Rubicon Genomics. James has two children and lives in Wymondham, which is a lot nearer to the coast than Cambridge.

Prof. Colin Cooper, Professor of Genetics UEA - Professor Colin Cooper is a world leading prostate cancer researcher who is currently the Chair of Cancer Genetics at the University of East Anglia. He was educated at Wymondham College, obtained a first degree at the University of Warwick and trained at the National Institute of Health and at the Dana Faber Cancer Institute in the USA. On returning to the UK his laboratory was responsible for identifying cancer genes involved in the development of many cancers including sarcomas, kidney cancer, and bladder cancer. In many cases the genes are now routinely used world-wide in cancer diagnosis. He has headed programmes that have transformed research on prostate cancer in the UK. He currently heads the UKs International Cancer Genome Consortium Prostate Cancer Project, and sits on the Prostate Cancer Advisory Group, which provided advice to the government on the management of patients with prostate cancer.

Big C is a registered charity (No. 281730), a company limited by guarantee, registered in England & Wales (No. 1521441), VAT Registration No. 688 7342 76 Registered office as above.

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