Her Royal Highness Princess Anne opened a cutting-edge new facility dedicated to cancer treatment research in Sutton last week.

On Thursday (October 7), the princess royal joined scientists and executives with the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) at the new facility dubbed the Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery that aims to discover new types of treatment that could allow cancer to be controlled in the long term, and ultimately cured.

The princess was greeted at the new building by recently appointed Chief Executive of the ICR, Professor Kristian Helin, and Chair of the ICR, Professor Julia Buckingham.

The centre spans a whopping 7,300 square metres and cost £75 million – a major proportion of that coming from donations to the ICR, which is both a research institute and a charity. HRH met the scientists in some of the new biology, chemistry and computational laboratories – as well as the all-important meeting rooms and collaboration hubs, which encourage creativity and cross-disciplinary working.

"It has been an honour to welcome Her Royal Highness back to the ICR and share the exciting progress we have made in cancer research since the last visit nearly two decades ago," Helin said.

"As world leaders in this field, we've discovered 20 cancer drug candidates and progressed 11 drugs into clinical trials since 2005 and the ICR-discovered drug abiraterone is now used as standard treatment for advanced prostate cancer worldwide. But there's still much more to do to make cancer a manageable disease in the long term and one that is more often curable, so patients can live longer and with a better quality of life," she added.

Dr Olivia Rossanese, Head of Cancer Therapeutics at the new Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery, said of the visit:

"I was immensely proud to be able to introduce members of my team to Her Royal Highness and explain our work creating new drugs to improve the lives of people with cancer.

"After the disruption of the coronavirus pandemic, this new centre has allowed research groups from a whole spectrum of scientific expertise to come together to share ideas and tackle our united goal of discovering new ways of treating cancer that can overcome drug resistance and benefit patients.

"This collaborative approach will accelerate our work to find smarter and kinder therapies and help us stay one step ahead of the disease – which is increasingly urgent as delays in diagnosis and treatment as a result of the pandemic have left many cancer patients more vulnerable than ever."

Click here for more info. on the ICR and the work they do.