UK's first professor of teenage and young adult cancer appointed in Manchester

October 24, 2005

Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT) has announced that Professor Tim Eden has been appointed to the UK's first TCT Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Chair, based across The University of Manchester, the Christie Hospital and Central Manchester & Manchester Children's University Hospitals NHS Trust. The appointment will put Manchester and Britain at the forefront of research into a disease that affects over 2,200 teenagers every year, and comes in the wake of National Institute for Clinical Excellence guidelines on young people's cancers calling for "age-appropriate facilities, provided as locally as possible".

Cancer in teenagers and young adults is on the increase. Incidence rates over the last 30 years have grown by 50% - an average annual rise of 1.2% - and cancer is the most common cause of non-accidental death in teenagers and young adults in the UK.

Improvements in survival rates have been much less than in children and many older adults in the last 20 years, and the number of patients entered into clinical trials is also much lower. This lack of research means very little is known about why teenagers get cancer.

Now Teenage Cancer Trust has invested £2.5m over 10 years to fund the Professor and his team, who will act as a national research lead and voice on teenage cancer issues as well as increasing research, international collaboration and clinical trial opportunities.

Professor Eden's clinical and academic base has been at both the Christie Hospital and Central Manchester and Manchester Children's University Hospitals NHS Trust since 1994, and he has worked in the Christie's dedicated 13-bed Teenage Cancer Trust Unit since its founding in 1998. Focusing on 15-24 year olds, his research activity has included the causes, distribution and control of cancer, explorations of new and targeted therapies and psycho-social factors, and he is currently chair of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP).

Professor Eden said: "Despite great advances in understanding and treating childhood cancer over the last 30 years and the recent focus on recruiting older adults into clinical trials, there has been relatively little progress on cancer in adolescence and early adult life. Teenage Cancer Trust exists to improve recognition and understanding of these cancers, and their support will also help us enhance treatment options, improve entry into clinical trials and increase quality of life and survival rates.

"By working closely with these patients we can recognise their needs and help improve their treatment outcomes. The challenges are huge but the rewards will be immense."

Myrna Whiteson MBE, Chairman of Teenage Cancer Trust said: "The appointment of a TCT Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Chair highlights the growing importance of this field of medicine. It provides a focus to extend the parameters of knowledge within the field, and will hopefully lead to improved outcomes. We know it will result in a better quality of life for many thousands of teenagers."

Professor Andy Garner, Dean of the Medical School at The University of Manchester, said: "I am delighted that Manchester has been chosen to host the TCT Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Chair, on the basis of its research strengths in the causes of and treatments for cancer. The University's medical research excellence is internationally renowned, and we are eager to apply it to this previously under-resourced field."

Professor Joan Higgins, Chair of the Christie Hospital, said: "This is an important appointment and we are delighted that Professor Tim Eden has been chosen for this prestigious post. Professor Eden has done an outstanding job in heading up our teenage cancer unit and we are very proud of the care we provide to young cancer patients. His expertise and dedication is truly admirable and he will, no doubt, excel in this new role."

Professor Mike Richards, National Cancer Director, said: "I strongly applaud the vision of Teenage Cancer Trust in establishing this first Chair in adolescent cancer, and congratulate Professor Eden, The University of Manchester, the Christie Hospital and Central Manchester and Manchester Children's University Hospitals on being chosen to host it. The establishment of a dedicated research team in Manchester will stimulate much needed research into cancers affecting adolescents."
-end-
Teenage Cancer Trust focuses on the needs of teenagers and young adults with cancer, leukaemia, Hodgkin's and related diseases by providing specialist teenage units in NHS hospitals. The units are dedicated areas for teenage patients, who are involved in their concept and creation. Medical facilities on the units are second-to-none and they are colourful and vibrant environments, equipped with computers, TVs, game consoles - places where friends and family feel comfortable to visit.

To date, TCT has built eight units located in London (on two sites), Leeds, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield, Newcastle and Manchester and is in discussion with an additional 14 trusts. It is anticipated that the concentration of medical expertise within these units can improve chances of recovery by 15%. Units cost an average £1.5 million each to build and TCT must complete at least 20 units in the UK so that every teenager and young adult with cancer in the UK has access to these facilities. Visit www.teenagecancertrust.org for more information.

Teenage Cancer Trust

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