Winning the battle against cancer

Guy's Cancer Centre

Last month, we gave you a look inside the new Cancer Centre at Guy’s Hospital. Now, take a look at the outstanding cancer care that Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, in partnership with King’s College London, is giving to the thousands of patients who visit each week. In this short article we give you a sneak peek inside this very special place.

Sitting beneath the famous Guy’s Tower, and with glorious views of the Shard, the new Cancer Centre at Guy’s presents a picture of the evolution of hospital architecture. With its light-filled and spacious design tailored to the needs of the 500 patients who visit each day.

Scientists from King’s are an integral part of the new Centre, and the 70-strong team of King’s researchers, based in the Centre’s Innovation Hub, are working with cancer patients to actively feed into their research. This ‘bench to bedside’ approach to translational medicine aims to accelerate advances in cancer care and improve patient outcomes in the future.

New opportunities for cancer research

Peter Parker

‘There are great opportunities for us to collectively make a difference here,’ says Professor Peter Parker, Head of King’s Division of Cancer Studies.

For example, the Hub’s biobank is an essential tool for researchers giving them access to a large collection of medical data and tissue samples collected from patients.

Professor Parker explains: ‘It’s important that the biobank is close to patient activity so that as many people as possible can participate in research and we can use the biopsy material we collect to improve diagnosis and therapeutic interventions.’

Proximity to patients also offers greater opportunities for clinical trials, key to bringing new treatments to patients. It is hoped that as this innovative relationship evolves, the benefits of research will feed into treatment at unprecedented rates, and lead ultimately to a cure.

Publicising research directly to patients and actively seeking their involvement is an approach that’s popular in some North American cancer hospitals but, says Professor Parker, ‘it’s still quite unusual in this country. We’re hoping to have a steady stream of visitors and create a closer connection between the researchers and the people we hope will benefit from our work.’

Radiotheraphy transformation

Guy's Cancer Centre

The new centre is the first hospital in Europe to locate its radiotherapy facilities above ground level, despite the considerable design challenges. This task was undertaken to give patients unprecedented access to both natural light and city views, all to help mitigate the stress of undergoing radiotherapy.

Making this possible meant that the foundations of the Cancer Centre took longer to complete than those for the Shard – and it actually makes the Centre heavier than its lofty neighbour. In 2013 two piling rigs spent five months boring over 400 piles into the ground, to ensure the building’s foundations were strong enough to support the weight of the lead lined doors and walls required for the radiotherapy village.

Focus on recovery and survival

Gordon Survivorship Centre

Within the calm spaces of the Welcome Village, patients can access a number of services that offer advice, therapy and support.

Emotional support is the focus of the Gordon Survivorship Centre, funded by King’s alumna and breast cancer survivor, Rola Gordon. In the Autumn 2016 issue of InTouch we spoke to Rola about her commitment to supporting patients after cancer which inspired the Gordon Survivorship Centre. She emphasised that when it comes to philanthropy ‘it’s not just giving money – it’s giving hope, it’s creating something new, it’s inspiring others’.

This Centre provides crucial advice to reflect patients’ individual needs, and focuses on the physical, mental, emotional and social difficulties that cancer diagnoses and treatment can have.

To support the amazing work of King’s academics, clinicians and scientists at the Cancer Centre, click here to make a special alumni donation.