Warwick signs cancer research partnership with China's Sun Yat-sen University

The University of Warwick and Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to create a research partnership in cancer diagnosis and specialist cancer care.

The agreement, signed during the state visit to the UK of the President of the People's Republic of China, Mr Xi Jinping, focusses on four specific areas: nursing; digital pathology; anti-cancer drug development; and systems biology and precision medicine.

The MoU was signed by Professor Lawrence Young, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (academic planning and resources), University of Warwick, and Professor Chao-Nan Qian, Vice President of Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center (SYSUCC). The signing took place at Mansion House, home and office of the Lord Mayor of the City of London and was chaired by Minister for Life Sciences, George Freeman MP.

Mr Freeman said both Britain and China have long been admired for producing some of the world's leading scientists and academics, whose advances have improved and saved the lives of millions of people suffering from serious diseases such as cancer.

He added: "Cancer is the number one killer of people in the UK and China and like many nations we are in hot pursuit to find an effective treatment. Which is why collaborations such as those being announced today between Warwick University and Sun Yat-Sen University Cancer Centre on training and research to co-develop anti-cancer treatments are so important."

Professor Lawrence Young, Pro-Vice Chancellor at the University of Warwick, said:

"We are delighted to be consolidating our collaboration with the Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Centre by signing this agreement today. This represents a milestone in the interaction between our two institutions and demonstrates the mutual benefit of our partnership.

"Working together to train future cancer specialists and to develop new anti-cancer treatments will significantly advance our mutual ambition to bring benefit to cancer patients in both China and the UK."

The memorandum will pave the way for the training of SYSUCC senior oncology nurses at the University of Warwick and of SYSUCC pathologists at Warwick and University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire. Other developments include Warwick University advising on the development of a digital pathology system and related infrastructure at SYSUCC and related training aimed at capacity building. Joint research in anti-cancer drugs and systems biology and precision medicine is also included, alongside the training of SYSUCC researchers in these areas at Warwick..

Professor Sudhesh Kumar, Dean of Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick said:

"This new development addresses a range of key collaboration areas and will lead to advances in research programmes and training highly specialised clinical practitioners.

"Warwick Medical School makes a significant national and international contribution to education and research in health and has a number of pioneering research and study facilities which attract significant funding and enable collaborative research. This MoU is another example of how we are operating with other international higher education institutions to further our work."

The signing ceremony, held on 21 October, builds on earlier work between the two universities which initiated a number of significant developments, including a research programme to develop new anti-cancer drugs for one of the most common cancers in southern China. It also resulted in a leading digital pathologist from SYSUCC spending two months at the University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire as part of an up-skilling programme led by Warwick.

The collaboration between the two higher education institutions has also begun to attract external support; the Royal Society National Science Foundation funding is supporting the development of new anti-cancer drugs and Sun Yat-sen University's chemistry department has received a prestigious Newton Fellowship to send one of their researchers to the University of Warwick to collaborate on new drug development.