In June, the University officially launched its most ambitious campaign to date: to raise £25m to build a Centre for Cancer Immunology at Southampton.
The University’s immunology and immunotherapy research has been at the forefront of the fight to beat cancer for many years, and now we are investing in this research with a new, dedicated centre, the first of its kind in the UK.
Immunology uses the body’s immune system to target and eradicate cancer cells, working in tandem with your natural defences, potentially providing a lifetime of immunity.
The campaign has raised over £13m already. Alumni Colin Smith and Paul Raine, who were amongst the first to donate to the campaign, talk to Southampton Connects about why they feel this cause is so important.
Colin Smith: “If we can cure cancer by using innovative technologies then we should. Everyone knows somebody who has been touched by cancer – it takes too many people too soon. The link to the University of Southampton is important to me as an alumnus. I don’t believe that UK universities make enough of support from their alumni community and I wanted to help by supporting this campaign. I also believe in getting to the heart of problems by using clever ideas, investing in new technologies and supporting novel approaches. In my experience, a new Centre like this always boosts team spirit and creates innovation, competition and a desire for excellence. It will be a place for ambition and for capable people to thrive. I suspect that we will end up making discoveries we never expected.”
Paul Raine: “Cancer is a disease that we should be capable of beating. I also strongly believe that there should be fair and equitable access for everyone to the very best treatments, wherever they are based in the world. This campaign is completely different to everything I have seen before. I didn’t realise that we could beat cancer using immunotherapies. There are good reasons why it takes a long time to conduct medical research and investing in this area will help to make breakthroughs more quickly. We need to be finding the answers to problems, not just dealing with the outcome. We need to find ways to stop cancer before it starts and find ways to treat it effectively.”