£5 million for life-changing mesothelioma research

Ian explains how we'll use this generous donation to change lives.

Today we're announcing a game-changing donation for people living with mesothelioma

We’ve secured a generous gift of £5 million from the Victor Dahdaleh Foundation to support ground-breaking research into the disease, matching government funding that was announced earlier this year.

The donation will fund research at the University of Leicester and Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Cambridge, which will join forces with the government-funded National Mesothelioma Research Centre at Imperial College in London to develop new treatments and – ultimately – find a cure for mesothelioma.

This donation is the largest ever to be made to the British Lung Foundation.

Our progress so far

We have a long history of funding UK-based research into mesothelioma, a deadly asbestos-related cancer that affects the lining of the lungs. We’ve already invested over £4 million on ground-breaking research in this area. This makes us one of the biggest funders of mesothelioma research in the UK.

The funding we've received over the last 5 years has helped us to transform the mesothelioma UK research landscape from one of neglect and disinterest into a thriving network of investigators committed to delivering real benefits to people affected.

Our work to date has set a solid foundation of mesothelioma research across the UK, which will allow us to really make the most of this upcoming funding opportunity.

The recent studies we’ve funded have produced some truly exciting results including:

  •  New ideas for increasing the success of radiotherapy
  • The development of immunotherapy where the body’s immune system is boosted to fight the cancer
  • Using stem cells to accurately target cancer-killing drugs to the location of the cancer, while sparing healthy tissue.

The next steps

While there’s now a lot to be hopeful about, much more work is needed to translate these concepts from promising laboratory ideas to successful real-world treatments.

This means investing in further research, including clinical trials that will test new treatments in people, making sure that they are safe, effective and have the desired results.

This additional research will cost many millions of pounds, so we still need huge amounts of investment to turn new treatment ideas into reality. 

Thanks to this funding from the Victor Dahdaleh Foundation, we have set up a Mesothelioma Research Network, and at the wishes of the donor, the University of Leicester and Papworth Hospital will be the first members. It will also include Imperial College - who earlier this year received the government’s £5 million pound investment to become a National Mesothelioma Centre.

By working together we are ensuring that mesothelioma research is joined-up and collaborative. We want to make sure that efforts aren’t unnecessarily duplicated, with researchers sharing data and pulling in the same direction, making the best use of the precious funds available. 

This huge boost to funding and the new network is great news. It will accelerate research and bring us closer to effective treatments and, one day, hope for a cure for this devastating disease.


Find out more on the Victor Dahdaleh Foundation and the role of private foundations.


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1 November 2016