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Cambridge University Science Magazine
The awardee is Melania Capasso from the Centre of Cancer & Inflammation at Queen Mary University, London. She impressed representatives of both GSK and the oncological research community with her proposal to develop a treatment for lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system. This award will fund one new PhD student in the Capasso lab from October 2012.

This novel scholarship will provide a rare opportunity to bridge the divide between pure academic research and industrial development of research products allowing a smoother transition of newly developed drugs into clinical use. It is hoped that through continued funding of such projects over the coming years we will be rapidly able to design, produce and test novel cancer therapies allowing much more effective treatment of many more people.

Students of this UK targeted programme will be able to work directly with other researchers during their time in the lab, but will also be offered the opportunity to travel to the US, for at least three months, and to work directly with industrial scientists and engineers on developing their treatments for mass production. This is a unique training experience that could be highly valuable to many potential researchers.

GSK is one of the top three pharmaceutical companies globally and has repeatedly demonstrated its interest in rapid development of effective targeted cancer therapies. By supporting academic research through funding of this scholarship and others like it, GSK helps to ensure that leading cancer research can continue in the UK and ensures that GSK will be at the forefront of pharmaceutical progress for many years to come.

The applications for the award were judged by a panel of GSK R&D members, which provided a short list to a board of leading UK oncology experts including Prof Alan Ashworth (Chief Executive of the Institute of Cancer Research) and Prof David Cameron (Professor of Oncology, University of Edinburgh). Prof Ashworth summarised the importance of CASE PhDs by saying: ‘Joint industry-academic research efforts are vital in the quest for furthering scientific progress – especially in the current climate. With this award, GSK have created an exciting opportunity to support and showcase cutting-edge UK research.’

Cancer continues to be one of the biggest killers worldwide but with continued support, like this, from world leading pharmaceutical companies and from academic funding bodies, significant progress can be made towards beating it.

Written by Jonathan Lawson