Significant donation enables important bladder cancer research
A major donation from the Graham and Dianne Roberts Charitable Settlement will help Guy's and St Thomas' fight bladder cancer. Graham (pictured below) died from the disease in July 2016, following 20 months of treatment led by Dr Simon Chowdhury and his colleagues at Guy’s Hospital.
Bladder cancer is the 10th most common cancer in the UK, but the seventh most common cause of cancer death in the UK. In 2014 there were 5,400 deaths – which is 15 deaths every day. It only receives 0.5% of cancer research spend in the UK and is the only top 10 cancer for which the prognosis has not been improving.
Graham and Dianne’s donation of £1.79 million, over five years, is to the Translational Oncology and Urology Research (TOUR) team at King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust.
The TOUR team, jointly led by academic lead Dr Mieke Van Hemelrijck and clinical lead Dr Simon Chowdhury, will focus on the creation of a new bladder cancer biobank and a parallel research programme which will increase the number of patients being treated in clinical trials. Dr Simon Chowdhury said: 'This major donation from Graham and Dianne will increase our understanding about bladder cancer and ultimately improve treatment for this awful disease'.
The creation of the biobank involves the collection and central storage of tissue, blood and urine samples from patients being seen at the new Cancer Centre at Guy’s and follows on from the team’s successful creation of a similar biobank for prostate cancer. A research programme will be created on the back of the formation of this important resource.
The TOUR bladder cancer team will include dedicated clinicians, researchers, nurses, technicians and students. In addition to this, a new post, the Graham Roberts Clinical Fellow, has been created. This post will be an annual appointment designed to attract bright young talent into the field of cancer research.
Graham and his wife Dianne discussed the gift with Dr Chowdhury before Graham passed away.
Dianne said: ‘Graham wanted to make a difference because once we realised the cancer had spread and there were no treatment options for him he wanted to help other people in his situation.
‘Graham faced his battle with cancer completely stoically. His attitude was he was going to meet it head on and he was going to beat it. Graham was incredibly positive right up until the end.
‘Funding bladder cancer research is the only way to ensure other people don’t have to go through what we had to go through. It is about making a difference to other people’s lives.’