SCOTTISH scientists are being given a £16 million cash boost to fund their work into potential new treatments for two types of cancer.

Cancer Research UK is giving £8m each over the next five years to teams at its Edinburgh and Glasgow centres, as part of its biggest investment to date – £190m over five years across its network of 13 research centres across the UK.

A major focus of the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre is the investigation of brain tumours, with the goal of developing better treatments. The survival rate of brain tumour patients is poor, and more research is urgently needed.

The charity’s Glasgow centre is a world leader in research into pancreatic cancer, turning discoveries into potential new treatments and putting them through clinical trials. Survival rates among pancreatic cancer patients are low, but the clinical research in Glasgow could play a key role in changing this and improving patients’ chances of beating the disease. A key part of the £16m funding will involve training the next generation of cancer researchers, including 30 PhD students across both cities. The award comes on top of nearly £29m invested by Cancer Research UK last year on a range of research projects in Scotland.

The Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre is a partnership between the charity, the University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian.

Professor Margaret Frame, science director at the Edinburgh centre, said: “From research into how brain tumours develop and grow, to identifying genetic and environmental markers that could help diagnose bowel cancer sooner, Edinburgh is home to world-class cancer research.

“This award represents a critical investment in the research infrastructure at Edinburgh, equipping us with the key laboratory and clinical tools needed to advance the understanding and treatment of cancer for the benefit of people in Scotland and beyond.”

A similar partnership is behind the Cancer Research UK Glasgow Centre involving the charity, the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and Glasgow and Strathclyde universities.

Professor Owen Sansom, interim director at the Beatson Institute, said: “This investment is fantastic news for cancer research in Glasgow. The city is home to a thriving community of world-class cancer scientists and doctors, who are working to reduce the devastating impact of this disease, not only locally, but around the world.

“This award means we will be able to further develop our work in translational research – getting cutting edge discoveries from the laboratory to patients and learning as much as possible from patients to initiate new research.”

Edinburgh and Glasgow have been chosen as two of the locations to secure funding in the latest review of the Cancer Research UK Centres network of excellence – cutting-edge units which draw together world class research and medical expertise to provide the best possible results for cancer patients.

Every hour, four people in Scotland are diagnosed with cancer.

Victoria Steven, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for Scotland, said: “People across Scotland hear the words ‘you have cancer’ every day. Our campaign aims to highlight the huge emotional and physical impact that those words have on a patient and their loved ones.

“Survival has doubled since the early 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress – but every step our doctors, nurses and scientists take relies on donations from the public and the tireless fundraising of our supporters.”