The University of Southampton has announced that they have successfully reached the £25 million funding target to help fund the construction of the UK’s first dedicated Centre for Cancer Immunology.
Reliant entirely on the philanthropy and goodwill of members of the public, the £25 million target has been reached 6 months ahead of schedule. As a result, scientists will be able to move into the state-of-the-art centre next month.
Commenting on the success of the fundraising campaign in a University press release, Vice-Chancellor Sir Christopher Snowden said:
This is a significant day for the University. We are delighted and proud to have reached our target of £25m to fund this pioneering research centre, the first of its kind in the UK. We are immensely grateful to everyone who made a contribution to the campaign – big or small. The next few years will see great advances in immunotherapies for cancer with the University of Southampton at the very forefront of discovery
The research institute, which will be located at University Hospital Southampton, will focus on the potential of white-blood cells, part of the body’s natural immune system, for finding a cure for cancer. The university has for the past 40 years been a world leader in cancer immunotherapy research and the Centre will enable world-leading scientists and cancer researchers to expand their clinical trials and develop life-saving drugs.
According to the Centre for Cancer Immunology homepage, further research in this field could produce a cancer vaccine within 15 years.
While an anonymous donation of £2 million in October undoubtedly helped achieve the target of £25 million early, staff, students, local, national and international campaigning efforts have all contributed to raising the required funds over the past two years. Bake sales, sponsored cycle rides and marathons have been just some of the methods used to help raise money for the cause, with Southampton RAG prominently involved in student fundraising efforts.
Commenting on the fundraising success, Director of the Centre Professor Tim Elton said:
We are thrilled to have reached the £25m target for our new Centre for Cancer Immunology and are eternally grateful to everyone who has contributed… The efforts that people have gone to have been truly inspiring, we cannot thank you enough. The University has made major advances in tumour immunology and immunotherapy research and we strongly believe the new Centre will go a long way in discovering new treatments and helping more people
As part of celebrating reaching the target ahead of schedule, the University has asked students to wear white again and share photos using the hashtag #WearingWhite between 1-4 February.