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Precision Cancer Medicine Institute Launches in UK with $176M Investment

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The University of Oxford today announced the launch of the Precision Cancer Medicine Institute, a center that will use genomics and molecular diagnostics, among other technologies, to carry out research into cancer therapies.

The institute is being funded through a £35 million grant from the Higher Education Funding Council for England through its UK Research Partnership Investment Fund. In addition, the university expects the center to receive more than £75 million from financial contributions and support in kind from partners in the project.

Those partners include Cancer Research UK, Roche Diagnostics, GE Healthcare, Mirada Medical, Brandon Medical, Blue Earth Diagnostics, and the University of Florida Health Proton Therapy Institute.

While genomics is expected to play a role in the institute's research efforts, it also will conduct advanced cancer imaging, trials on new drugs, minimally invasive surgical procedures, and proton beam therapy. The institute expects a "significant investment in the operation of a proton beam research facility within the new institute by ProNova Solutions, the intended US supplier of the proton beam equipment," the university said in a statement.

The new institute will focus on patients with early-stage cancers that may have a poor prognosis with the aim of improving their outcomes.

Professor Gillies McKenna, head of the department of oncology at the University of Oxford, will lead the new institute, which is expected to be located near the Cancer Centre at the Churchill Hospital, part of the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust.

"The Precision Cancer Medicine Institute aims to improve outcomes and increase cure rates for cancer patients. It will do this not only by making surgery and radiotherapy more precise and less invasive, but by designing new drug treatments that are more targeted and personalised to the characteristics of a patient's particular tumour, and by using advanced imaging techniques to detect the earliest signs of response," McKenna said in the statement.

As reported by GenomeWeb Daily News earlier today, the Precision Cancer Medicine Institute is expected to be co-located with the new Chan Soon-Shiong Oxford Center for Molecular Medicine.

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