North-east breast cancer team launches fundraising event

North-east breast cancer team launches fundraising event

Colleagues working together from NHS Grampian and the University of Aberdeen have launched plans for a local fundraising event which will see money raised invested directly into breast cancer trials and studies here in the North-east.

The fundraising ceilidh will take place at Aberdeen Altens Hotel on Friday 6th October.

NHS Grampian consultant breast surgeon Beatrix Elsberger was inspired to arrange the event to bring local people together to help fund postgraduate students’ efforts here and now in the fight against breast cancer. She had been part of a similar, long running fundraising effort while she was a senior breast fellow in Melbourne, Australia.

Beatrix explained: “In Melbourne their event has been running for decades and is so well known it’s booked out months in advance. It’s a chance for team building and bonding, an opportunity to bring patients, families, cancer support groups and local businesses together with the NHS and university teams, and for everyone to be part of something really special. 

“One in seven people will develop breast cancer at some point in their lifetime and one in two of us will develop some kind of cancer. The funds raised will be put into local breast cancer research which is ongoing and very active, supported by postgraduate students as well as the clinical team and our patients.  

“I always find patients see me as the face of everything happening while they are in hospital but there is a huge team behind me. Oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, researchers, nurses and support staff, to name but a few. It’s so important we nurture the whole team, give junior trainees the opportunity to be part of things like this and help to build the team who will benefit patients in the future.”  

Professor Valerie Speirs is Chair in Molecular Oncology at the University of Aberdeen and runs a research lab dedicated to studying breast cancer. She helped establish the national Breast Cancer Now Tissue Bank, where Aberdeen is the only centre in Scotland that is part of this initiative, and co-leads the Aberdeen Cancer Centre. 

Working together with Beatrix on the event, Valerie commented: “Our bench to bedside approach aims to translate new laboratory findings into the clinic with the goal of directly improving patient outcomes. Aberdeen has an impressive history of delivering world-leading research and we’re always keen to promote opportunities to join both clinical and research work here in the North-east. This event will be great for our teams and our local community, but it’s also a chance to come and find out more if you have an interest in working with us.”  

Beatrix and Valerie’s team goes through a full process of ethics and committees before new research findings can change clinical practice for the better. Aberdeen Royal Infirmary has a biorepository which enables researchers from the university to work with tumours, normal specimens and patients’ clinical data. As well as local trials, the NHS team is also involved in UK-wide research activity including ATNEC, which looks at further treatment to the armpit after surgery, and is currently the UK’s second highest recruiter.