The Institute of Cancer Research, based near the Royal Marsden Hospital in Belmont, has been recognised for its many successes in discovering new cancer drugs through the award of blue plaques under the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Chemical Landmark scheme.
The ICR’s centres in Chelsea and Sutton have both received plaques.
They mark the role the ICR has played in cancer drug discovery since the 1950s – including the discovery of chemotherapy drug carboplatin, prostate cancer drug abiraterone and the genetic targeting of olaparib for ovarian and breast cancer.
Chemical Landmarks are publicly visible distinctive blue plaques – similar to the English Heritage plaques found on many famous buildings – and aim to give an insight into chemistry’s relevance to everyday lives.
They recognise sites where the chemical sciences have made a significant contribution to health, wealth, or quality of life. Since the scheme’s inception in 1999, the Royal Society of Chemistry has awarded more than 50 chemical landmarks, including four international landmarks.
The ICR has been rated as the world’s leading academic organisation in the field of cancer drug discovery, and the most successful higher education institution in the UK at earning invention income from its science. Royalties from ICR discoveries are ploughed back into the organisation’s research for the benefit of cancer patients.
Since 2005, the ICR has discovered 20 targeted cancer drugs and taken nine into clinical trials. Through its close partnership with The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, the ICR is able to ensure rapid transfer of research discoveries to patients.
“The award of Chemical Landmarks plaques is a great recognition of the impact that ICR scientists, past and present, have made in drug discovery, to transform the lives of many patients with cancer,” said Professor Paul Workman, the ICR’s chief executive.
“Being able to display these distinctive blue plaques on our sites in Chelsea and Sutton will be a wonderful way to raise the profile of our work across our local communities – and I hope will engage a new audience in the important work we do.”
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