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John van Geest Cancer Research Centre

Cancer doesn’t discriminate, and its effects are far-reaching: it’s a disease that shatters lives, decimates families and destroys futures.

But at the John van Geest Cancer Research Centre (JvGCRC) we’re fighting back. Launched in 2010, this world-class facility is exploring the detection and treatment of cancer, specialising in blood cancers as well as colorectal, pancreatic and brain tumours. As the scope and clinical applications of our pioneering work continue to develop, the Centre’s research could lead us to the ultimate answer to a global question.

What we do

Mass spectrometer with David Boocock

The JvGCRC is one of the most advanced cancer research facilities in the UK. We’re here to:

  • ask and answer the most clinically relevant questions about prostate, breast, brain and blood cancers
  • model the disease’s spread, improving our clinical predictive skills
  • better understand the complexities of cancer and advance our knowledge of how a patient is likely to respond to treatment
  • convert ‘big data’ into clinically useful information, by channelling NTU’s broader expertise in data analysis and interpretation
  • develop new therapies, as our researchers explore how the immune system can learn to recognise and attack cancer.

We’ve already achieved a number of key breakthroughs. Working with state-of-the-art facilities our 30-strong team of researchers have:

  • achieved a better insight into how prostate cancer spreads around the body
  • identified the genes and proteins that help us to determine which therapies patients with acute leukaemia and with breast cancer will benefit from
  • created new vaccines to target prostate cancer and the deadliest forms of brain tumours
  • co-developed a new blood test that could support clinicians in the early diagnosis of prostate cancer, mitigating the need for invasive biopsies.

Today, much of our work hinges around immunotherapy – a true game-changer in the diagnosis and treatment of cancers. Immunotherapy effectively ‘trains’ the immune system to target cancer cells. It’s a gateway to the quicker, safer and less invasive treatment of cancers, with preventative effects that can last a lifetime.

Why it matters

For one in two people, a cancer diagnosis isn’t just a threat — it’ll one day become a reality. Across the UK, 980 people are afflicted daily, with 357,000 new cases occurring throughout the year. Of the two most common diagnoses, one in seven women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, while one in eight men are projected to develop prostate cancer — and these are only two of over two hundred different strains.

Some cancers can be treated. Too many others still can’t. In the next 24 hours, cancer will take more than 450 lives — and in the coming year, it’ll claim over 166,000 children, parents, partners, family members, friends, neighbours and colleagues.

The numbers are stark. But day by day and week on week, our odds are improving — thanks to dedicated research hubs like the JvGCRC, which is committed to finding more effective treatments.

With continued developments in preventative measures, faster diagnoses, tailored treatment and informed aftercare, the presence of cancer in our lives might remain inevitable — but the scale and devastation of its impact need not be.

How you can help support this life-saving work

Our priorities for the future are simple, but vital: we need to bring this life-changing work out of the laboratory and into our clinics and surgeries.

Before that can happen, however, more immunotherapy research still needs to be completed. As research advances, technology evolves: in order to support the JvGCRC’s cutting-edge work, it’s inevitable that some of our key tools and equipment will need upgrading (and in some cases replacing).

Our work hinges on your generosity. Financial support helps us to attract academic experts from around the world; it’s through your donations that we can provide these people with the tools and technology to deliver breakthroughs, while nurturing the next generation of research talent with PhD Studentships and Early-Career Fellowships.

There are different ways you can donate and help.

Trusts and foundations, as well as corporate donors, should contact our Head of Philanthropy, Kayleigh Glasper, on 0115 8486 404, or at We’d be delighted to talk to you in further detail about our work, and how you can support us.

Catch up on our latest news

Thank you for supporting the JvGCRC at NTU. Your much appreciated donation allows our team to work in innovative and collaborative ways to fight back against cancer and find treatments that will save lives. You can catch up on some of our latest newsletters below.

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All our activities adhere to the Fundraising Code of Practice, ensuring that every donation you make is put to the best possible use. Find out more.

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