Welsh bag star trio for cancer institute

July 30, 2004

A trio of international research stars has been hired to head a new cancer research institute run by the University of Wales, Bangor.

Each will lead one of three areas of cancer research brought together for the first time in the £3.5 million institute, which opened last Friday. The institute will eventually accommodate 50 scientists.

Jurgen Muller, currently a research fellow at the US National Cancer Institute in Maryland, will lead a team at the institute to investigate protein molecules that control cell growth. It is hoped that drugs could be developed to target these proteins and inhibit cancer cells' ability to multiply.

Michael Cross, who has spent the past seven years at Uppsala University of Sweden building expertise on the mechanism that encourages blood supply to develop and sustain a tumour, will head another team.

The third team leader will be Oliver Fleck, who has been running his own research group at Bern University in Switzerland. He will continue his investigation into what makes DNA unstable and unable to repair itself, which can lead to the development of cancer.

The three research teams will work closely together in large open-plan laboratories.

Sue Assinder, head of Bangor's School of Biological Sciences, said the aim was to create an interdisciplinary group that would benefit from sharing ideas and practice.

Funding for the institute includes an award of £430,000 from the North West Cancer Research Fund and £645,000 from the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales.

A leading figure in cancer research is understood to be considering an offer to become the institute's director.

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