Fundraising cancer researchers to take on Great North Run

Members of the medicinal chemistry department from Newcastle University Centre for Cancer are hoping to hit their goal of £3,000 raised.

Colleagues developing life-saving cancer drugs are teaming up to participate in the Great North Run to raise funds for vital research.

Eight medicinal chemistry from Newcastle University Centre for Cancer is taking on the half marathon in a bid to reach their goal of £3,000.

The medicinal chemistry team is part of the Newcastle Cancer Research UK Drug Discovery Group, where they work as bioscientists, pharmacologists and structural biologists, developing new treatments for cancers.

Their fundraising will contribute to cutting-edge research projects, delivering four new medicines that are already in clinical trial use for cancer patients.

The team is currently focusing on new molecular treatments targeting cancers resistant to existing therapies, with the hope being that cancer patients will have more effective, kinder medicines available to them.

Researchers are hoping to raise £3,000 through the Great North Run

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Head of Chemistry Professor Mike Waring, among the group taking part in the Great North Run, said: “We’re fundraising, first and foremost, because our group is sponsored by Cancer Research UK and we’re really dependent on that money to be able to develop cancer drugs.

“We want to bring new therapies to people, research costs money and we are dependent on the fundraising and donations of the public for that. We feel it’s vital that we do our bit for fundraising as well as research.

“For me personally and for many of the members of the group, as well as being researchers, our lives have been affected by cancer.

“Most significantly for me, I lost my dad to bladder cancer in 2019. Our research and our fundraising are motivated by the desire to beat cancer in all its forms. This is a huge challenge but we are determined to play our part in it.”

Chemistry group Senior Research Associate Dr Suzannah Harnor, who is working on new treatments for breast cancer, is coordinating the team’s fundraising efforts.

She said: “It’s extremely close to home for my family. I’ve worked in labs and benefited from these funds for me to do my research. It’s giving that little bit back and coming full circle to raise funds for our own research.”

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A bake sale has raised £600 for the fundraisers so far, with PhD student Will Thompson organising the sale.

Will, developing molecules that degrade proteins which drive cancer, said: “Everyone’s life has been touched by cancer in some way. I’m one of the lucky ones, I still have my grandad around after his lymphoma was successfully treated a few years back.

“It’s the funding of research organisations like this that enables more people to have the same experience as I had, increasing the possibility of remission and allowing people to keep their loved ones around for longer.”

The full team of Great North Runners is: Professor Mike Waring, Dr Hannah Stewart, Dr Jennyfer Ricci, Jessica Graham, Matt Anderson, Will Thompson, Jake Odger and Catherine Salvini.

Senior Research Associate Hannah Stewart, who is developing medicines for drug-resistant lung cancer, said: “I’m running in the Great North Run because as a researcher in the Drug Discovery Unit, I see every day the important research going on that will one day change lives – none of which would be possible without the fundraising that goes on across the country every day.”

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To sponsor the team, you can visit their Cancer Research UK fundraising page.