Cancer cellsThank you for supporting Cancer@ABDN

It's a year since we reached our ambitious target of raising £4.5million to develop a world-class Cancer Research Programme at Aberdeen, thanks to the tremendous generosity of our many friends and supporters. Cancer@ABDN's 'bench to bedside' approach aims to translate our new laboratory findings into real-world solutions that will diretly benefit patients through the finest care and the newest treatments.

Of course, there is much more to do. We are in this for the long-term and want communities across Scotland to benefit from our research for generations to come.

Thank you so much. Your support for cancer research at Aberdeen is truly helping to save lives.

Professor Valerie Speirs

Professor Valerie SpeirsThanks to the wonderful generosity of so many donors, I was proud to return to my alma mater in 2018 as Chair in Molecular Oncology. Since then I have been heartened by the excellent progress made in strengthening our Cancer Research Programme.

Your support has created a 'virtuous circle' that has enabled us to significantly expand our research team, win major grant funding, including a share of £7million to be part of the Breast Cancer Now Tissue Bank, and boost our reputation - all of which is helping us to do more and more to fight cancer.

Further vital successes, enabled by your support, include the following:

  • Professor Iain McEwan has been successful in attracting substantial new resources to Aberdeen from the Prostate Cancer Research Centre. His work is exploring new ways to treat prostate cancers which have become resistant to conventional therapies.
  • Two PhD students, generously funded by CRANES, are dedicated to working on male cancers.
  • New recruit, Professor John Gibson, is building a team to study oral and head and neck cancers.
  • Professor Anne Donaldson, supported by Cancer Research UK, continues to investigate fundamental mechanisms in cancer.
  • Professor of  Pathology, Graeme Murray was named Regius Professor of Pathology last year for his reseach into gastro-intestinal cancers. He leads a research team investigating bowel cancer.

It's so important to attract a new generation of cancer researchers. I encourage medical students to try laboratory research and thanks to funding from Friends of Anchor, the Pathological Society and Animal-Free Research UK, three medical students were able to work in my lab last year under our Aberdeen Summer Research Scholarships scheme.

We have also established a Cancer Research PhD Initiative for the School which will encourage links between different areas of cancer research and enhance the training and interaction opportunities for PhD students working on cancer.

Covid-19 has inevitably impacted significantly on our cancer research activity. We are unable to carry out lab experiments and it's impossible to collect tissue samples but the team has adapted well to working from home. Analysing lab data, mining publicly available datasets and learning new data analysis skills add an exciting new dimension to our research.

Virtual conferences on cancer are taking place and members of the team are attending these to learn of the latest findings in cancer research and how Covid-19 has impacted cancer patients.

Thanks you one again for your wonderful support of cancer research at Aberdeen.

To help us build on the success of our Cancer Research Programme, please give online today by clicking ‘DONATE NOW’ to help us make new discoveries and breakthroughs which will improve the lives of so many people affected by cancer. For more information contact Lisa Chilton on +44 (0) 1224 272281 or email

Thank you.



At the age of 59 I decided to take part in the Run Balmoral 10K race for the first time in memory of my husband Roy whom I had lost to oesophageal cancer a few months earlier. I had never done anything like this in the past so this was a whole new venture for me.


Roy was diagnosed in January 2011 and passed away in November 2012. During that time he went through chemotherapy and radiotherapy and also took part in clinical trials. During 2012 we were attending Aberdeen Royal Infirmary anything from one to three times a week and when Roy passed away my life felt empty in so many ways. I missed Roy tremendously but strangely I missed the staff at the hospital too, I had grown quite fond of many of our regular nurses and medical professionals.


Roy was always eager to take part in any trials offered saying “if it doesn’t help me it might help someone else”, so needless to say I feel I have to carry this on by helping raise fund for cancer research through GASTROCAN.


I was talking to the girls at work about Run Balmoral saying GASTROCAN was one of the nominated charities. They spurred me on to sign up to take part and when I agreed another two decided to join in. Once I had signed up I had something to focus on which helped me through some very dark times. If I was feeling down I would just put on the trainers and walk. It soon lifted my spirits being out in the fresh air and now I feel so much fitter. I arrived for the first time feeling quite nervous but once I got going I really got into the atmosphere. The buzz I got going over that finishing line was like nothing I can put into words. I had a fantastic day and I know Roy would have been proud of my achievement, especially with the money that will continue to help other people who find themselves in the same situation he was in.

I have taken part in every Run Balmoral 10K every year since and through that, and various other fundraising events I have organised, I have raised for the University's cancer research through GASTROCAN. 

I would recommend anyone to get involved, try something new. It really helped me get through that first few months, I’m sure it can help you too.