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About the Institute of Cancer Therapeutics

The Institute of Cancer Therapeutics is a purpose built facility with links to the Norcroft Conference Centre.

Within the ICT building there are the facilities for cancer drug design, synthesis, pre-clinical pharmacology and Phase I trial PKPD laboratory support.  The four floors of the building provide space for chemistry, cancer pharmacology and translational research in addition to commercial activity. The close link with the analytical centre allows further drug development and formulation work to be conducted as an addition to any projects conducted by the Institute.

The Institute has extensive laboratories for cancer drug design and development, including dedicated Good Clinical Laboratory Practice (GCLP) facilities, modern medicinal chemistry facilities, a Bio-Imaging suite and co-located incubator and commercial space. In addition the University Analytical Centre is directly accessible from the Institute and holds the key capital equipment to support discovery and pre-clinical programmes.

Establishment of the ICT

In 2005 the centre took on a new Director and a new identity as the Institute of Cancer Therapeutics, to recognise the linking of Yorkshire Cancer Research funded chemistry with CRUK funded pharmacology and NTRAC funded translational research.  From 2007, the Institute has a wide portfolio of funding including major sponsorship from Yorkshire Cancer Research as well as support from EPSRC, MRC, ECMC, Yorkshire Forward, pharma, biotech and several cancer charities. 

The new Institute builds upon over 30 years of cancer research experience at Bradford and brings together in one interactive team experts in medicinal chemistry, pre-clinical and clinical pharmacology.

Professor Laurence Patterson was appointed by the University of Bradford as Director of the new Institute with the specific aim of steering the research, knowledge transfer and advance teaching activities. An academic group of 5 chemists and 4 pharmacologists under the direction of  Prof LH Patterson is responsible for progression of the research, knowledge transfer and teaching portfolio. A commercial team underpins the management of existing KT provision, incubator suite and development of innovative KT activity.

Background to Cancer Research

Cancer research started at Bradford in the mid 1970s with the formation of the Whyte-Watson Turner Cancer Research Trust. Originally, local charities raised funds to financially support the Trust but by the early 1980s the level of funding increased, leading to a significant rise in research activity including drug development.  The increase in funding meant that the Clinical Oncology Unit on the University of Bradford campus could be formally established.

In the following years the Clinical Oncology Unit established a reputation in the pre-clinical evaluation of anticancer agents and developed all the laboratory-based skills to support Phase 1 clinical trials. By April 2000 the Cancer Research Campaign had taken over responsibility for funding of the Unit and the name was changed to The Cancer Research Unit. Within two years the Cancer Research Campaign merged with the Imperial Cancer Research Fund to form Cancer Research UK. At the same time the CRU changed its name to become the Cancer Research UK Laboratories of the Tom Connors Cancer Research Centre.

Breast Cancer Chemotherapy Development in Bradford: 1950's and 1960's. An essay.

Professor Tom Conners

Professor Tom Connors   

Thomas Anthony Connors

BSc, PhD, DSc, FIBiol 1934-2002

After a long battle against prostate cancer Tom passed away peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of Monday 4th February 2002, a true irony for someone who's research had contributed so much in the fight against cancer and made such an outstanding contribution to the whole cancer research community.

Without a doubt Tom Connors was one of the best known and most popular figures in Cancer Research. He had been involved in the development of new anti-cancer drugs for 40 years and probably for the last 30 years had been regarded as one of the world's leading authorities in this area of research. During his career he had served on just about every National and International Committee of importance to his field, indeed he had chaired most as well. He was the only non-American to ever serve on the President's advisory committee.

About Tom

Tom was born in Mortlake in 1934 and educated at Wimbledon College. He graduated from University College London with a Special Physiology Honours degree in 1957. It was then that a family friend, the late Professor Walter Ross, who was one of the most eminent chemists to work in cancer research, persuaded him to consider cancer research as a career and study with him at the Chester Beatty Research Institute for a Ph. D. This Tom did and gained his Ph.D in organic chemistry in 1960 and so began his career in experimental cancer chemotherapy. Later his career expanded into toxicology and between 1976 and 1991 he was the Director of the MRC Toxicology Research Unit and went on to make a major contribution to this field and gain respect and admiration from the Toxicology community.

His work

Many of today's senior cancer research workers passed through his hands, as students, post-doctoral fellows or visiting workers. His message was simple, without a sound understanding of the biology of the cancer process and the pharmacology of anti-cancer agents it would be impossible to develop more effective anti-cancer therapies. His emphasis on this message to the scientific community was greatly appreciated by his clinical colleagues and has served to bring a great unity of purpose into the whole process of developing new anti-cancer drugs.

Tom had a long association with the Cancer Research Campaign, he had served as Chairman of the Scientific Committee and the Grants Committee and several other important sub-committees. However his most inspired and successful involvement with them must have been the formation of the Phase I/II Drug Development Committee. The work of this committee has clearly made Great Britain the world leader in the development of new anti-cancer drugs. Tom also served on the committee of management of the Institute of Cancer Research and Board of Governors of the Royal Marsden Hospital.

After a long battle against prostate cancer Tom passed away peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of Monday 4th February 2002, a true irony for someone who's research had contributed so much in the fight against cancer and made such an outstanding contribution to the whole cancer research community.

Without a doubt Tom Connors was one of the best known and most popular figures in Cancer Research. He had been involved in the development of new anti-cancer drugs for 40 years and probably for the last 30 years had been regarded as one of the world's leading authorities in this area of research. During his career he had served on just about every National and International Committee of importance to his field, indeed he had chaired most as well. He was the only non-American to ever serve on the President's advisory committee.

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