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New £10m cancer diagnostic centre to create17 jobs

Alastair Hamilton (right), Invest NI, is pictured with Professor Manuel Salto-Tellez and Professor James McElnay from Queen’s University Belfast at the new Precision Medicine centre
Gareth McKeown

A NEW £10 million medicine centre, which will focus on improving treatment for cancer patients has been launched in Belfast.

The Centre of Excellence in Precision Medicine, which will create 17 jobs, is being unveiled today by Invest NI and Queen's University. The centre will develop an internationally accredited laboratory focusing on diagnostics, which can be used to predict a cancer patients' response to treatment. This will allow potentially costly drugs to be used more effectively by being prescribed only to those that can benefit from them.

Invest NI has offered £5.8 million towards the project and chief executive Alastair Hamilton said the centre has the potential to develop "ground breaking treatments" for cancer patients.

"This new Precision Medicine Centre will provide access to R&D facilities for both local and international companies. It has the potential to develop ground breaking treatments for cancer patients and will further enhance the personalised medicine and oncology research sector in Northern Ireland. While initially research will focus on cancer, this could extend into other areas of precision medicine in the future."

The facility will be located at the Centre of Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queen's University and the 17 new roles will attract average salaries of £48,000, bringing £800,000 a year into the Northern Ireland economy.

Queen's University acting president and vice-chancellor Professor James McElnay added: "This Centre of Excellence brings a unique dimension to the bridging of academia and industry, making the fabric of our biotechnology sector in NI and the UK as a whole significantly stronger.”

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