Aberdeen university smashes £4.5 million cancer research funding target

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An Aberdeen university has smashed its £4.5 million fundraising target to transform cancer research in the north-east.

The cash was raised through the efforts of NHS Grampian and Aberdeen University staff raising £30,000 by cycling the North Coast 500 and other generous donations.

The Friends of Anchor charity also handed them over £1 million.

The funds have already been put to good use by expanding the team of cancer researchers at the further education facility. Breast cancer specialist Professor Valerie Speirs relocated to work in Aberdeen from Leeds last year and further appointments are planned.

She will be focusing on the relatively under-researched area of male breast cancer. Her lab is also developing approaches to studying breast cancer that use human tissue instead of animal testing.

Her work also looks into ways medics could decipher how the disease is likely to progress in a patient to help them provide the most appropriate treatment.

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Former university worker Elaine Shallcross, who lost both her parents to cancer and whose brother has been successfully treated, was diagnosed with breast cancer herself last August.

She said: “Thanks to research I have received incredible medical care, including the most sophisticated drugs tailored to treat my particular cancer.

“As I began my treatment, I pledged to raise £10,000 in support of breast cancer research at the university.

“I chose this particular research programme for two reasons; firstly, I am inspired by Professor Speirs’ research – thanks to her work I am optimistic that my daughters and granddaughter will benefit from early diagnosis and management that will improve on survival rates.

“Secondly, I have a great affection for the university, having been employed in the library for nearly 24 years prior to my retirement in 2016.”

Elaine has already raised £3,000 by knitting and selling “Bressie Beanies” – hats which were inspired by American snowboarder Chloe Kim.