A major new state-of-the-art research centre will soon be sited in Cambridge, further confirming the city’s reputation as a world leader in the field of medical advancement. This venture, combining the research teams of the University and the MRC has been made possible by the generosity of Hutchison Whampoa Limited, the large multi-national conglomerate based in Hong Kong, which has committed the essential catalyst funding necessary for the creation of the Centre.
Based on the new island site at Addenbrooke’s, the Centre will be known as the Hutchison/MRC Research Centre and will comprise a MRC Cellular and Molecular Biology Unit and the Hutchison Cancer Research Unit. The latter will be staffed by specialists from the University and will promote ways of applying fundamental research to the clinical treatment of cancer patients.
Hutchison Whampoa, headed by the influential Hong Kong businessman and philanthropist, Li Ka-shing, is one of Hong Kong’s largest groups, with more than 54,000 employees, and investments and operations in 23 countries worldwide. The Group’s core businesses include ports, telecommunications, retailing, property development and holdings, infrastructure and energy. Principal U.K. activities and investments include the Ports of Felixstowe, Harwich International, Thamesport and the Orange Telecommunications Group.
Mr. Li Ka-shing, Chairman of Hutchison Whampoa, explained the donation:
“Our group and I have always been very committed to supporting education and medical care projects worldwide which benefit mankind. We are particularly pleased to be joining forces with a world-leading University and the MRC in furthering the study of and the cures for cancer through medical research and its practical applications. The Port of Felixstowe, one of our group companies, already has firm links with Trinity College and we are delighted to take our relationship with the University one step further.”
Professor Sir Alec Broers, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, responded enthusiastically to the news of the benefaction:
“The University is deeply grateful to Mr. Li and Hutchison Whampoa for making this Centre possible. We believe that the partnership between the University, the Hutchison Group and the MRC, will lead to an outstanding new cancer research initiative, able to take full advantage of the University’s investments both in its biomedical departments and in the Clinical School.”
The new building will be located on the Island Site within the Addenbrooke’s Hospital Site. Each unit within the building will be headed by a world-leading research expert who will lead an active team of scientists and clinical staff.
Sir Keith Peters, the Regius Professor of Physic, explained the significance of the development of the Hutchison Cancer research Unit for the University.
“The advances in understanding the underlying molecular mechanisms in cancer have now reached the stage where the prospects for new approaches to prevention, diagnosis and treatment are increasingly bright. The Hutchison/MRC Centre, sited next to Addenbrooke’s Teaching Hospital and the world renowned MRC laboratories, will have every opportunity to make a unique contribution to cancer research, and in so doing, alleviate a major cause of human suffering and death.”
The MRC unit will concentrate on fundamental molecular and cellular research, which will underpin clinical investigations by University scientists including those working in the Hutchison Cancer Research Unit.
Professor George Radda, Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council, also welcomed the development:
“I’m very pleased that the Medical Research Council has approved the funding to build a team around a scientist of world-class stature.”