Charity's £1million pledge kickstarts University cancer team drive

The University of Aberdeen's drive to raise £4.5million to establish a world class cancer research centre has been handed a massive boost by a £1million pledge from Friends of ANCHOR charity.

Friends of ANCHOR kicked off its 20th anniversary year, by unveiling the new fundraising campaign marking its “dreaming big” vision for North-east cancer care.  

The charity has pledged £1 million to the University of Aberdeen Development Trust as a key contribution to the University’s ambitious 5 year proposal, totalling in excess of £4million, to advance oncology research in the North-east of Scotland.

It is anticipated that a team of academics with a track record of high quality research in the field of oncology can be recruited to work alongside other outstanding research groups currently active in Aberdeen.

Professor Steve Heys, Head of the School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition at the University and a Breast Cancer Surgeon who has spearheaded the oncology research team proposal said: “The support of Friends of ANCHOR is second to none and will be pivotal in helping us achieve our goal of establishing Aberdeen as a centre for world-class cancer research.

“Such a centre will enable the University and NHS Grampian to attract and retain first-class academic and clinical staff and so contribute to clinical excellence through patient care and participation in clinical trials.

“Partnership with Friends of ANCHOR in such a vital area is a major driver for success and the results of our joint endeavour will be of immense benefit to the local community and beyond for many years to come.”

Professor Henry Watson, Friends of ANCHOR Trustee and Consultant Haematologist added: “This ambitious plan will identify oncology research as a top priority for Aberdeen. With the planned opening of the new ANCHOR Centre in 2020 there will be a marked improvement in the way we deliver cancer care on the Foresterhill site.

“This exciting development combined with the improved provision of clinical services represents an overall strengthening of oncology as a specialty in the North East of Scotland.

“The appointment of an outstanding  oncology research team within the University on the same campus will bring many benefits. This type of development would be anticipated to strengthen all aspects of oncology practice from the basic scientific research to the recruitment and retention of high quality clinical staff, trainees and nurses. Ultimately that success results in improved clinical care for patients with cancer.”

Having a dedicated oncology research team in place will put the University of Aberdeen in a position to galvanise major research projects and become recognised within the UK as a leading centre and institution for cancer research to attract significant funding.

NHS Grampian is known for its strong portfolio of lung cancer trials and with the recruitment of the oncology research team opportunities for participation in clinical trials for many more patient groups is expected to significantly increase.

The funding pledge from Friends of ANCHOR comes in its 20th anniversary year for the charity.

Friends of ANCHOR Chairman, James Milne, said: “As a charity we continue to take bold steps that we believe will help pioneer and drive haematology and cancer care forward. This ambitious proposal is in line with our ‘dreaming big’ vision we’ve set in our 20th anniversary year of Friends of ANCHOR.

“We already have a strong oncology research base to be proud of in Aberdeen but this huge commitment will bring us another step forward in delivering profound and lasting improvements for patient care in the North-east of Scotland.

“In order to raise this huge amount for the project we’ll need support from right across the community – from fundraisers to corporates and significant philanthropic individuals. This is Friends of ANCHOR’s most ambitious fundraising drive yet and we’re looking forward to garnering the support of individuals and groups throughout the North-east to help make this dream for cancer research a reality.”

To support Friends of ANCHOR’s ”Dream Big”  £1 million cancer research appeal please get in touch with the charity’s fundraising team on 01224 859170 or email Alternatively please visit the website for further information.