The British Lung Foundation has received a donation of £5 million from the Victor Dahdaleh Foundation for mesothelioma research. This matches the government funding announced in the budget in March to set up the National Mesothelioma Research Centre at Imperial College.
This major grant will allow the charity to fund research into mesothelioma at the University of Leicester and Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Cambridge.
The British Lung Foundation will also use the funding to establish a Mesothelioma Research Network, to include the research programmes at Leicester and Papworth in Cambridge together with other specialist mesothelioma centres across the country.
Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation said:
“This unprecedented and generous donation from the Victor Dahdaleh Foundation means we can co-ordinate a network of researchers into mesothelioma and ensure that the number and scope of research projects and clinical trials can be greatly increased. This investment will help to speed up much needed progress in finding better treatments and, eventually, a cure for this awful killer disease.”
She added that the charity “won’t stop until a cure is found”.
Victor Dahdaleh said:
“While the UK already has world leading expertise in studying and treating mesothelioma, we hope that our donation, matching the government funding announced earlier this year, will enhance research programmes and enable closer collaboration between all those working hard to bring tangible benefits to patients affected by this dreadful disease.
“The professionalism and commitment already shown by the British Lung Foundation and the teams at Papworth, Leicester and Imperial give us confidence that together we can make a real difference over the next four years.”
Professor Dean Fennell, Chair of Thoracic Medical Oncology University of Leicester and Professor of Thoracic Medical Oncology at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, said:
“This generous investment will help us in developing innovative treatments in the fight against mesothelioma, offering new hope to people who have been diagnosed with the disease and helping to transform lives.”
Dr Robert Rintoul, Consultant Respiratory Physician, Lead Clinician for Cancer and Director of Clinical Trials Unit Collaboration at Papworth Hospital commented:
“Papworth Hospital is delighted to be a part of the new Mesothelioma Network, following generous funding from the Victor Dahdaleh Foundation.
“Papworth already has considerable experience in surgical clinical trials in mesothelioma and hosts MesobanK, the UK’s mesothelioma tissue bank which was initially funded by the Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund and the British Lung Foundation. This donation will help secure the long term future of MesobanK ensuring that it is able to continue to support mesothelioma research nationally and internationally.”
What is mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer in the chest or abdomen, caused by inhaling asbestos fibres. It affects over 5,400 people in the UK, and numbers have increased over the last four decades. There is no cure and the disease often kills with frightening speed – the average time of survival after diagnosis is only 11 months.
The Victor Dahdaleh Foundation
The Victor Dahdaleh Foundation was set up by businessman and philanthropist Victor Dahdaleh to focus on education and healthcare around the world. In the field of education, the Foundation funds a range of scholarship programmes to give disadvantaged young people the opportunity to study at some of the world’s top universities.
In support of global health advancement, the Victor Dahdaleh Foundation donates to a wide range of medical programmes and academic institutions, funding leading research in areas such as cancer, cardiovascular health and neuroscience.