Institute of Cancer Research

Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery

The state-of-the-art facility will house inter-disciplinary research teams who will investigate cancer evolution and drug resistance.

Project summary

The Institute of Cancer Research, London, aims to take its world-leading drug discovery work to a new level by building a state-of-the-art facility for creating innovative cancer treatments – focusing especially on overcoming the serious clinical problem of drug resistance.

The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) is passionately committed to improving the lives of cancer patients through excellent research. Building the planned new Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery will be a key step in delivering on this ambition.

The ICR is the world’s most successful academic organisation at discovering new cancer medicines – identifying 20 drug candidates since 2005 alone. The ICR’s discoveries have contributed to an improving picture for patients with cancer, with median survival in the UK doubling in the last decade.

However, patients with some tumour types continue to do very poorly, and once the disease has spread round the body, it is still often incurable. Many patients respond initially to new targeted therapies, only for their cancers to adapt and evolve resistance to treatment. The ICR is determined to overcome this major clinical challenge by creating a new generation of medicines that confront cancer’s complexity and evolution.

The Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery will house inter-disciplinary research teams who will investigate cancer evolution and drug resistance, and feed advances in knowledge into the ICR’s drug discovery programmes. The planned new building will provide enhanced, expanded facilities for the internationally renowned Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit, and co-locate it with the pioneering Centre for Evolution and Cancer – the first of its kind and scale in the world.

The new Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery will be planned and delivered to the highest specifications, offering multidisciplinary research space that will bring together cancer biologists, medicinal chemists, pharmacologists, clinicians, data scientists and evolution researchers.

It will facilitate collaboration, stimulate innovation, and drive partnership with industry and the translation of discoveries into the clinic.

The Centre will be a centrepiece of the London Cancer Hub – a globally significant life-science innovation cluster being developed by the ICR and the London Borough of Sutton. The aim of the Hub is to deliver major benefits for cancer patients and the UK economy.