‘First in Europe’ Cancer equipment delivered to benefit North East

A cutting-edge piece of cancer treatment and research equipment purchased through a record £625,000 contribution from the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation is being installed this week in Newcastle upon Tyne.

The ultra-compact ABT Molecular Imaging Biomarker Generator is only the second of its type in the world and the first in Europe and will help with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other serious diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

It is being installed within Newcastle University, which has invested a further £600,000, to create a ‘specialist environment’ in the School of Chemistry to house the new equipment.

The Biomarker Generator will directly benefit cancer patients in the north east and Cumbria and will play a significant role in the development of new cancer treatments.

Its delivery is a very proud day for everyone involved with the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

Lady Elsie says: “It’s wonderful to see this piece of equipment actually becoming a reality and being prepared for use.

“We rely on the cancer expertise of our medical trustees who are always looking for promising new treatments which could make a real difference to people currently fighting cancer as well as helping with research into the disease.  And when they explained the benefits of the Biomarker Generator to my family and I we shared their enthusiasm.

“It’s a very significant investment for our charity, the largest we’ve made so far, and something we simply couldn’t have done without the incredible support we receive.

"It's truly humbling when you think about the many thousands of donations and fund-raising events which have gone into making this happen.

“We’re extremely grateful to every fund-raiser and every single person who makes a donation and will continue to ensure the money is invested in the very best possible way.

“I’m very proud that the charity which my husband launched is continuing to make such a difference for other people fighting cancer.  He would share my fervent hope that this equipment helps to save lives.”

The Biomarker Generator creates radioactive tracers which are given to patients who then undergo scans, which is also known as imaging.  The information collected through this imaging helps doctors understand where the disease is in each patient, how serious the disease is, and the underlying processes and pathways that are sustaining the illness. The tracers can also be used to see whether a new drug has penetrated a tumour and whether a new treatment is damaging the tumour cells and stopping them growing.

Herbie Newell, Professor of Cancer Therapeutics at the Newcastle Cancer Centre at the Northern Institute for Cancer Research, Newcastle University, says: “The Biomarker Generator is cutting-edge technology that will allow us to make sure that we deliver the best possible care for each patient we treat, whilst learning at the same time as much as possible about our new drugs.”

Tom Welch, President and CEO of ABT Molecular Imaging, Inc., producer of the Biomarker Generator, says: “ABT is honoured to be associated with the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and is excited to be a collaborative partner of Newcastle University in their efforts to advance cancer research.”

Funding for the Biomarker Generator was made possible thanks to fantastic ongoing support for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, the cancer charity Sir Bobby Robson launched in 2008.

It is continuing to fulfil Sir Bobby’s ambition to help find more effective treatments for cancer and to focus on new treatments which directly benefit people currently fighting the disease as well playing an important role in wider research into the disease.

It funds projects within the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which directly benefit cancer patients from across the north east and Cumbria, including the clinical trials of drugs at the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre.

In addition to funding the Biomarker Generator, the Foundation has equipped the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care and funded a specialist clinical research nurse and research doctor within the Centre.

It has funded leukaemia laboratory research equipment and contributed to the Royal Victoria Infirmary’s teenage cancer unit.

The Foundation has also enhanced a children’s waiting area, jointly funded a patient ‘quiet and information area’ with help from Macmillan Cancer Support and part funded a complementary therapy programme providing symptom relief for cancer patients – all at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care, Freeman Hospital.

The charity is very lucky to receive wonderful support from Patrons including Alan Shearer, Niall Quinn, Steve Gibson, Delia Smith and Mick Mills and, as a fund within the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Charity, receives substantial support which means it can limit administrative costs to less than one percent.

To make a donation, view messages of support, or for more information please visit www.sirbobbyrobsonfoundation.org.uk or donate by sending a cheque to Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, Room 203, Cheviot Court, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne NE7 7DN.


Issued on behalf of The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation (registered charity No: 1057213) by Longstone Public Relations.

For all media enquiries about the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation please contact:

Liz Luff - Longstone Public Relations.
T: 0772 5878 928 / E: liz-luff@sky.com

For all media enquiries about Newcastle University's input please contact:

Sam Wood - Media Relations Manager - Faculty of Medical Sciences Newcastle University
T: 0191 222 7374 / M: 07886473422 / E: sam.wood1@newcastle.ac.uk

About the Newcastle Cancer Centre at the Northern Institute for Cancer Research:

The Newcastle Cancer Centre at the Northern Institute for Cancer Research is jointly funded by two charities - Cancer Research UK and the North of England Children’s Cancer Research Fund.

Launched in July 2009, the Centre is based at the Northern Institute for Cancer Research at Newcastle University.  The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is also a key partner in the Centre.

The Centre brings together some of the world’s leading figures in cancer research and drug development. They play a crucial role in delivering the new generation of cancer treatments for children and adults by identifying new drug targets, developing new drugs and verifying the effectiveness and safety of new treatments.

This collaborative approach makes it easier for researchers to work alongside doctors treating patients on the ward, allowing promising new treatments to reach patients quickly.

About ABT Molecular Imaging:

ABT Molecular Imaging has developed a production platform to generate unit doses of molecular imaging drugs for positron emission tomography (PET) at the point of use.  Historically, this production required significant infrastructure and expense, generally limiting its use to large academic medical centers and pharmaceutical manufacturers in specific geographies.  The company was founded in 2006 by industry experts in the molecular imaging industry.

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