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Queen's University Belfast unites experts to fight prostate cancer


Queen's University Belfast will be one of the first centres of excellence in prostate cancer in the UK, it has been announced.

Movember and Prostate Cancer UK have invested £5m into the consortium which will link world-leading experts and researchers between Belfast, Manchester and London.

The two ‘hubs' of excellence, one jointly based between Queen’s and the University of Manchester and a second in London, will work in collaboration over a five-year period.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among males in the UK with 40,000 new diagnoses every year.

More than 200 men die every year from prostate cancer in Northern Ireland.

Internationally renowned researchers and clinicians will be pooling their knowledge to tackle the key questions which surround the disease.

The Public Health Agency has contributed an additional £500,000 to the centre. It will be used to fund two key posts within the Northern Ireland Cancer Centre — a research radiographer and a post-doctoral research scientist.

The research will try to identify men at high risk of aggressive disease, and will aim to find which patients could respond best to treatment options, an approach often referred to as personalised medicine.

They’ll also work on refining treatments such as radiotherapy to improve how well they work for advanced prostate cancer, including cancer that has spread to the bones.

The centre is bringing in scientific expertise from outside the prostate cancer field to look at an existing problem in a new way using crucial insights from other cancer types such as those affecting the breast and lungs.

The Movember Centres of Excellence were selected after a rigorous international peer review process.

Prof David Waugh, director of the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queen’s University, will be one of two scientific co-directors of the centre, alongside Prof Richard Marais, based in Manchester.

He said: “The Belfast-Manchester Centre of Excellence provides a rare opportunity to bring together an international team of experts who will use their individual talents in a collective and focused manner to make significant discoveries to benefit and extend the lives of men with prostate cancer.”

Professor Joe O’Sullivan, chair of radiotherapy development and clinical lead for radiotherapy at the Northern Ireland Cancer Centre and chair of the Uro-Oncology Multidisciplinary Team at the Belfast Trust, will be one of two clinical co-directors of the centre.

Through this research programme we have the opportunity to increase the speed of clinical advances by taking a fresh approach to prostate cancer research involving state of the art technology and a genuine collaborative approach.”

Movember UK Country Manager Sarah Coghlan said: “Launching the Movember Centres of Excellence is one of the most significant and exciting milestones in the Movember Foundation’s history to date.

“These Movember Centres of Excellence are the first of their kind in the UK focussed on prostate cancer, and they represent the Movember Foundation’s commitment to having an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health. We salute every one of the Mo Bros and Mo Sistas in the UK. This wouldn’t be possible without them.”

Dr Iain Frame, Director or Research at Prostate Cancer UK said: “Our Centres programme is a game-changer. By bringing the key minds in prostate cancer research together, and supporting international collaboration, these world class hubs will catalyze innovation and discovery whose impact will be far greater than the sum of their parts.”


Movember was established in 2003 by a few friends over a beer in a pub just outside Melbourne, Australia. The goal was simple — to create a charity campaign promoting the growth of the moustache among like-minded people, and to have fun along the way.

It is about real men, talking about real issues and changing the face of men's health, one moustache at a time. Movember now spans the globe, with campaigns in 21 countries in 2012.

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