press release
Published: 09 September 2019

Two local Guildford charities make substantial donation to the University of Surrey

By Natasha Meredith

Ground breaking cancer immunotherapy research at the University of Surrey has received a massive boost thanks to two local Surrey charities: the Prostate Project and BRIGHT.

A £270,000 piece of technology, the Vectra Polaris, was purchased last month by the Prostate Project to advance cancer research at the university. The Vectra Polaris is a new class of Automated Quantitative Pathology Imaging System that can easily detect and measure up to 9 overlapping biomarkers within a single tissue section. This state of the art technology will provide in-depth analysis of interactions between immune and cancerous cells that was previously impossible.

Supporting the operation of the technology is a dedicated technician funded by BRIGHT who will oversee and operate the equipment and an £80,000 grant from the university for servicing and maintenance.

It is vital to the development of cancer immunotherapy, a revolutionary new form of treatment which artificially stimulates the immune system to treat cancer and will help transform cancer care in the UK. In addition, the new machine will provide a valuable service to Royal Surrey County Hospital Pathology Unit

Hardev Pandha, Professor of Medical Oncology at the University of Surrey, said: “I would like to extend my thanks to The Prostate Project and BRIGHT for their generous donation and to the university for their continued support to this field of research.

“To successfully treat cancer, new innovative treatments which are less toxic to the body are needed. Cancer immunotherapy is one way to achieve this. The use of the Vectra technology and the knowledge we gain from it, will enable us to develop effective collaborations with immunotherapy drug developers and attract clinical trials with novel treatments to the University and Royal Surrey County Hospital.”

Prostate Project Chairman Colin Stokes, said: “We are delighted to be able to support this vital work. It is a great demonstration of two local cancer charities, Royal Surrey and the University working together to take this exciting new technology a stage further.”

Dr Tony Dhillon medical oncologist and trustee of BRIGHT, said: “We are delighted to be able to contribute to the acquisition of this remarkable technology. With the Vectra Polaris system we can qualitatively and quantitatively exam immune cells in and around cancers and enables the University of Surrey to develop further its reputation as a centre of excellence for cancer research. BRIGHT is pleased to be collaborating with its other partners to improve outcomes for patients with cancer.”

Kate Penhaligon, Acting Head of Research and Development at the Royal Surrey County Hospital said: “We are thrilled that Professor Pandah’s revolutionary work has received this generous donation and look forward to a time when Royal Surrey County patients will benefit from his ground-breaking research.”

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