Dangoor Family’s Exilarch’s Foundation funds Europe’s first dedicated cellular immunotherapy unit at UCLH
We are delighted to announce that the Dangoor Family’s, Exilarch’s Foundation is partnering with UCLH to fund Europe’s first dedicated cellular immunotherapy research and treatment centre. This exciting development will create a new research centre of excellence that could potentially pioneer a radical change in how cancer is treated.
The Foundation’s generous gift of £1.6m will establish the ‘Sir Naim Dangoor Centre for Cellular Immunotherapy’ an eight bedded unit at UCLH within the new surgery and cancer building, due to open in 2020.
The research and treatment Centre will build upon the world renowned expertise and ground-breaking advances already made at UCLH to successfully treat cancer using cellular immunotherapy.
Professor Karl Peggs, who will be the first Clinical and Scientific Director of the Centre, explains, “The immune system provides a powerful inbuilt natural defence which recognises and removes some harmful cells from our bodies, but it finds it difficult to eliminate cancer cells, partly because cancers can subvert and undermine these systems. Immunotherapy clinical trials are looking for ways to teach the immune system how to recognise and kill these cancer cells more efficiently, providing a more effective way of treating cancer. Cellular immunotherapy involves taking live cells from the body, in many cases then genetically engineering them to kill cancer cells before re-infusing them”.
The establishment of this Centre will enable UCLH to focus research on advancing cellular immunotherapies. As Prof Peggs says “While clinical translation of cellular immunotherapy research into blood cancers has already shown positive outcomes, more research is desperately needed. We anticipate that through this research, treatment for other types of cancer – such as skin, ovarian, liver and lung cancers – will be developed, meaning greater cancer survival rates. It is a very exciting development that could be a game changer for the treatment of cancer”.
Michael Dangoor, who worked closely with UCLH to develop this project said “My brothers and I felt with this investment UCLH could fast track research into cellular immunotherapies and by establishing this centre in our late father’s honour, it is close to our hearts.”
“We hope the answers the research discovers will improve treatment and outcomes for patients with cancer in the years to come and this will be a fitting tribute to our father’s memory,” added David Dangoor.
The Exilarch's Foundation was created by Sir Naim Dangoor and is now run by his four sons David, Michael, Robert and Elie. Since its establishment, in 1980 it has generously initiated, guided and supported many causes, mainly relating to education and health, including Cancer Research UK, the Crick Institute, Imperial College, The Royal Society of Medicine, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, The UK Israel Tech Hub and the Centre for Personalized Medicine at Bar Ilan University.
Instrumental in providing schooling for the neediest in society, the Exilarch's Foundation has funded 4,000 scholarships for undergraduate students studying science and technology in the UK, including, in 2014, when it made the largest gift to the Royal Society of Medicine in its history for this purpose. It also funds the UK Israel Dangoor Health Initiative, a flagship programme designed to streamline Israeli innovation in digital health into the UK and the National Health Service (NHS).
Prof Marcel Levi, UCLH CEO said, “Research is integral to what UCLH is about. We are extremely grateful for the Exilarch’s Foundation’s generosity. With their support, we can drive cellular immunotherapy advances through research and treatment long into the future”
Find out about our new building here
Visit the UCLH website to find out more about the new cancer and surgery building here