TWO Cardiff scientists are starring in Cancer Research UK’s new nationwide TV awareness campaign called ‘I Pledge’.
Duncan Baird and Alan Parker based at Cardiff University appear in a moving short film highlighting how their pioneering research is made possible thanks to people who leave gifts in their Wills.
The new campaign encourages people from all walks of life to make a pledge – or promise – right now to leave something in their Wills to help beat cancer for future generations.
Prof Baird said Cancer Research UK’s funding is “vital” for his research looking at special DNA structures known as telomeres.
He said: “My lab is currently supported by Cancer Research UK via a five-year programme grant.
“Our work focuses on telomeres – the structures that cap the ends of chromosomes. We have shown that telomere length can be used to define both the prognosis and the response to treatment of patients with blood cancers and breast cancer.”
He also has a personal motivation which inspires his work.
“Both my parents died of cancer, for both it was very sudden and brutal,” he said. “This experience motivates me to want to keep contributing to our understanding of cancer and for the development of more effective therapies.”
Dr Parker’s research focuses on “training” viruses to recognise ovarian cancer cells – and destroy them.
He said: “The funding we receive from Cancer Research UK is absolutely pivotal to our research and we certainly couldn’t be doing the work we currently do without it. It has allowed us to push ahead and accelerate the speed with which we are developing new and more powerful agents to treat cancer.
“The speed with which our research is now progressing is more rapid than I could possibly have imagined just a few years ago, and this wouldn’t be possible without the generous funding from Cancer Research UK.”
He added: “Gifts in Wills allow Cancer Research UK to achieve breakthroughs beyond today’s knowledge and technological capabilities, to fund advances in pioneering research and find new and kinder treatments for patients. That’s why I’m grateful to everyone who decides to leave a gift to help others. They will be helping to save lives for generations to come.”
Gifts in Wills fund over a third of the Cancer Research UK’s work, helping to turn discoveries made in the lab into better treatments for cancer patients in Wales and across the UK.
Last year, Cancer Research UK spent around £4 million in Wales on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research.
Ruth Amies, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for Wales, said: “Every hour, around two people are diagnosed with cancer in Wales. The good news is, thanks to research, more people are surviving than ever before. But there’s still so much more to do.
“We hope Duncan and Alan’s work inspires as many people as possible to consider leaving a legacy gift to the charity. When someone writes Cancer Research UK into their Will they are enabling long-term research projects that lead to new treatments and cures.
“We need the unstoppable force of our researchers and supporters to accelerate breakthroughs and save more lives.”