Cancer research in Wales gets £200k boost for World Cancer Day

A research project which will look at the way in which cancer cells grow and divide has been given a boost of £200,000 thanks to North West Cancer Research.

The money will fund a three-year research project based at the North West Cancer Research Institute at Bangor University.

It will look at the processes involved in cancer cell division and how yeast, an ingredient which is used to help bakers get the perfect rise, could help inform our understanding of cancer cell behaviour.

North West Cancer Research has ring fenced a total of £199,794.  This will support the recruitment of a Post-Doctoral Researcher, as well as cover costs for consumables and bench equipment.

The news comes ahead of World Cancer Day (February 4th) and takes the charity’s funding commitment to cancer research in Wales to more than £600,000 over the next five years.

Dr Rita Cha, NWCR Research Lecturer, at the Institute and School of Medical Sciences explains more about the project.

She said: “Cancer cells are characterised by uncontrolled division. A cell needs energy to divide. Research in the last twenty years has shown that most cancer cells get this energy by consuming a large amount of glucose.

“This process is called cancer cell metabolism and is very similar to the way in which yeast behaves in the fermentation process.

“Funding from North West Cancer Research will improve our understanding of the way yeast behaves, and use it to create a model system, imitating how cancer cells behave and utilise glucose when they divide.

“This is research at the very basic level – what we scientists call bench research - and by having a greater understanding of cancer cell behaviour, we can provide a foundation for other stages of cancer research.

“The importance of this type of research can often be overlooked, but thanks to North West Cancer Research, we now have the means and support to drive the science behind our research forward.”

Dr Edgar Hartsuiker, who leads the Institute at Bangor University said:

"I am very pleased that Rita's application was successful. Obtaining NWCR funding is a very competitive process, only the best proposals get funded and around 80% of the proposals are turned down. Rita's success is a testament to the quality of her research."

To date, North West Cancer Research has funded around £2.5million worth of research at Bangor University. This includes support for researchers and PhD students, as well as the creation of research fellowships, helping attract some of the world’s leading cancer researchers to Bangor.

Dominique Hare, Research Officer, North West Cancer Research, said: “With World Cancer Day just around the corner, it is the perfect time for us to announce the news that we will support cancer research here in Wales by a further £200,000.

“One in two of us will be affected by cancer at some point in our life time. Thanks to research half of all people diagnosed with cancer will now survive, which is why it is critical that we continue to fund innovative and effective research, which looks to tackle rising cancer rates right here in Wales.

“As a charity we are committed to backing only the very highest standard of research, ensuring the best value for the support we provide. But we can only continue to do so with the help and support of our fundraisers and volunteers, who work tirelessly to raise millions of pounds for cancer research every year.

“On World Cancer Day I would like to thank our network of supporters and researchers who are helping us make life-saving cancer research a reality. By working together, we can help save more lives from cancer sooner.” 

To find out more about the research which North West Cancer Research supports or to make a donation to the charity please visit

Publication date: 3 February 2017