Old Firm stars kick off cancer appeal

The captains of Celtic and Rangers have helped launch the campaign to build a new cancer research centre for Scotland.

Stephen McManus and Barry Ferguson pledged their support to the £10million Beatson Pebble Appeal and have urged the public to back the campaign and help to beat cancer.

Both clubs are supporting the drive to raise funds to build the Beatson Translational Research Centre, the final element in the creation of the Glasgow Centre for Cancer Research.

The centre, which will be built at Garscube Estate in Bearsden, will convert basic cancer research into real improvements in treatments for patients. The scientists housed there will focus on all types of cancers that affect all ages. Cancers such as breast, prostate, ovarian, lung, throat, mouth, stomach and intestinal, some of which are the most common in Scotland, will all be studied.

The captains both attended the official launch to show their support and met up with cancer survivor Lynn Murray.

Lynn had treatment for both bone cancer and breast cancer and is heavily involved in fundraising for the new centre.Beatson launch

Rangers and Scotland captain Barry Ferguson said: “This is an important campaign for Glasgow and for Scotland. Cancer affects so many people from all walks of life that anything we can do to tackle it is vitally important.

“Rangers are right behind this campaign and the fight to treat cancer.”

Celtic captain Stephen McManus said: “We all know someone who has been diagnosed with cancer and we have all seen the pain it causes.

“This new centre will play an important part in helping those who are battling the disease and everyone at Celtic is supporting the Beatson Pebble Appeal. If we work together, we can all help in the fight against cancer."

The Beatson TRC, which is being developed jointly by the University of Glasgow, the Beatson Institute, Cancer Research UK and the Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board, will be the final part necessary to create the Glasgow Centre for Cancer Research, the largest comprehensive cancer centre in Scotland. It will also be one of the largest in the UK.

Lynn Murray said: “I recognise the advances in patient care that have been made in the last 25 years. The Beatson Translational Research Centre will speed up drug development and ultimately help find a cure. I look forward to the day when our future generations are free from the risk of cancer.”

Professor Karen Vousden, Director of the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research and Director of the new Glasgow Centre for Cancer Research said: “The new development will play a key role in our ambitions to bring together basic and clinical research, contributing to the creation of a coordinated cancer research centre. It will help us develop our discoveries into successful new treatments for cancer patients.”

Professor Jim Cassidy, head of the University of Glasgow’s Cancer Sciences Division, said: “There are three key factors in the equation to solve cancer.

“Basic scientific research explores the mechanisms of cancer, and seeks ways to understand, prevent and cure it. Translational research converts basic research into improvements in patients’ lives by turning knowledge into cures. Finally, clinical care enables patients to fight and survive their illness.

“Recent huge investment has meant that two of the three key factors are now in place with a clinical facility at the Southern General Hospital, the Beatson Oncology Centre at Gartnavel where patients go for post-operative treatment, the Glasgow Biobank which provides blood and tissue and the scientific research facility, the Cancer Research-UK Beatson Institute at Garscube in Glasgow.

“This investment has transformed the rating and standing of cancer in Glasgow where there now exists a concentration of scientists of international standing working towards a common goal.

“The Translational Research Centre will be the final vital factor, spanning the journey from the scientists in the lab to the patients in the clinic. It will be a much-needed catalyst for accelerating the process of understanding the disease, improving existing therapies and identifying new ones, and bringing them to patients.

“Ultimately, patients from across Scotland and beyond will feel the benefits of this centre.”

Professor Alan Rodger, Medical Director of the West of Scotland Cancer Centre said: “In Glasgow, we have a unique opportunity to take a huge stride towards better treatment of cancer.

“Our vision is to be in a position to treat patients in a more tailored way, with customised drugs, targeted treatments and diagnostic options that are less toxic and more effective, so that each cancer and each patient is treated individually. The Translational Research Centre will help us to achieve our vision.”

To donate to the appeal, log on to www.beatsonpebbleappeal.org or call 0141 330 3000.

First published: 24 September 2008