The hospital, once approved by the government, can take five years to plan and buildROB JOHNSON

A new cancer research hospital is in the process of being developed in Cambridge. Patients currently treated on the Addenbrooke’s site will be served at this new facility, except for children, for will be cared for at a new pediatric hospital approved last December.

The hospital's outline business case has been approved by the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust board. It is pending review and approval from the government..

It would have up to 77 beds in areas that include haematology, oncology and bone marrow transplants. Nine beds in a teenage and young adults’ cancer unit are also being considered, but they may be placed in the new children’s hospital instead.

While being 80% an NHS facility and 20% a university facility, seamless integration between the two is emphasised. “Patients will get the best possible care in an NHS setting, but they will also benefit from the great science that is ongoing,” Professor Richard Gilbertson, director of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre and current Head of the University Department of Oncology told the Cambridge Independent.

Patients will be “the first to access and benefit from new inventions and developments”, with Professor Gilbertson raising examples such as “early detection as well as integrating investigations and the first in-human treatments”.

Prof Gilbertson highlights the “three research components” of the new hospital: a precision cancer research centre, early cancer detection and a leading programme in breast cancer embedded within the new hospital. These research elements would “integrate physics, chemistry, engineering and mathematics towards better patient care and decision-making”, while the programme in breast cancer features “the world’s first precision breast cancer programme”.

Clinical components of the hospital include patients’ facilities, a chemical unit and increased opportunities of clinical trials for patients. Other features also include a general oncology ward, a haematology ward and a bone marrow transplant ward, as well as a diagnostics unit, acute assessment unit and pharmacy.

Prof Gilbertson highlights the need for new facilities to deliver “world-class care” to patients. “It’s not just about a shiny new building. We are out of space,” he says, highlighting how “the incidence of cancer is going to triple over the next 30 years just because the patient population is ageing”. Other motivations for the hospital include the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy and the issue of staff retention.

“The Cancer Research Hospital will hugely benefit our patients, by providing better facilities and better access to the many recent advances in both diagnosis and treatment,” celebrates Professor Bruce Ponder, who was Founding Director of the CRUK Cambridge Institute and of the Cambridge Cancer Centre, as well as Head of the University Department of Oncology before his retirement.

The new hospital will be “a big step forward in the development of the Cambridge Cancer Centre and of truly novel cancer research”, Professor Ponder told Varsity. He emphasised that the Centre “brings together the outstanding range of excellent science in Cambridge for practical clinical application”.

“Success depends on building the strongest interface between scientists and the clinic,” says Professor Ponder. “By enabling this, the Cancer Research Hospital will allow the Centre to grow to the next level.”

Funding for the hospital is understood to be under consideration by the government. As well as having agreed to raise £50 million towards the project, the University is collaborating with Cambridge University Hospitals on partnerships with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, Cancer Research UK and charities such as Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust in order to fund the hospital.


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If approved, the hospital could take five years to plan and build. It will be situated between Addenbrooke’s Treatment Centre and the Frank Lee Centre, with its main entrance off Keith Day Road.

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