HIS Royal Highness (HRH) Prince William, The Prince of Wales formally opened the state-of-the-art Oak Cancer Centre today, funded by The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, a research and treatment facility that will help accelerate the development of new treatments offering hope for cancer patients worldwide.
The Oak Cancer Centre, named after Oak Foundation, which donated £25 million to The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity’s £70 million appeal, will enable clinicians to diagnose more cancers at an earlier stage and has been designed to enhance patients’ experience while undergoing treatment.
HRH The Prince of Wales has been President of The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust for 16 years and laid the foundation stone for the Oak Cancer Centre at the ground-breaking event in 2020.
Today, HRH The Prince of Wales met some of The Royal Marsden’s first patients to be treated in the Oak Cancer Centre’s Olayan Day Care Unit and heard first-hand what a difference this building will make to them. The Oak Cancer Centre, a major milestone in the future of early diagnosis, research and treatment has been designed to create a bright and peaceful environment with floor-to-ceiling windows.
HRH The Prince of Wales also met some of the hospital’s world-leading researchers who will carry out their innovative research in the Kuok Research Centre. The physical proximity between researchers and patients will support the hospitals’ ‘bench-to-bedside’ approach in developing new treatments for patients not just at The Royal Marsden but around the world. Being together under one roof will also enable closer collaboration between experts specialising in different tumour groups to encourage breakthroughs that target molecular and genetic abnormalities, with less emphasis on the tumour’s location in the body.
During the visit, HRH The Prince of Wales met patient Emma Bishop, from London. Emma said:
“It’s extraordinary that I was given a diagnosis of stage 4 lung cancer last year which had spread all over my body yet six months after starting treatment at The Royal Marsden, there was no evidence of disease beyond my original tumour. The Royal Marsden has saved my life and I am so excited that the Oak Cancer Centre will support clinicians to save even more lives in the future. Research carried out in the Oak Cancer Centre means that people, like me, may have the chance to see their children grow up and to grow old with their loved ones. A year ago, I didn’t think I’d live, but now I have hope as there are more treatment options for me and so many other cancer patients on the horizon.”
Speaking during the visit, HRH The Prince of Wales said:
“The Oak Cancer Centre is a major milestone in both The Royal Marsden’s history and the future of early diagnosis. I was delighted to launch the appeal for this facility eight years ago and lay the foundation stone in 2020, so I am incredibly proud to be standing here with you all today in this beautiful building.
“For the first time, the state-of-the-art Oak Cancer Centre brings together hundreds of researchers alongside patients. This will deliver truly integrated ‘bench to bedside’ studies that will speed up the development and translation of new personalised treatments – not just for Royal Marsden patients here, but for cancer patients worldwide. I was so pleased to hear first-hand from patients this morning what a difference this building will make to them.”
Dame Cally Palmer, Chief Executive of The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“It was wonderful to welcome our President, HRH The Prince of Wales, back to The Royal Marsden to formally open our state-of-the-art Oak Cancer Centre. This Centre will help the hospital to go faster and further in the delivery of research and cancer treatments and provide the very best environments for our patients. We are extremely grateful to everyone who supported The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity’s £70m fundraising appeal. The Oak Cancer Centre would not have been possible without generous Charity support from individuals from across the world, demonstrating what can be achieved when global philanthropy works in partnership with the NHS.’’