A cutting-edge piece of cancer treatment and research equipment purchased through a record £625,000 contribution from the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation is being installed this week in Newcastle upon Tyne.

The ultra-compact ABT Molecular Imaging Biomarker Generator is only the second of its type in the world and the first in Europe and will help with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other serious diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

It is being installed within Newcastle University, which has invested a further £600,000, to create a ‘specialist environment’ in the School of Chemistry to house the new equipment.

The Biomarker Generator will directly benefit cancer patients in the north east and Cumbria and will play a significant role in the development of new cancer treatments.

Its delivery is a very proud day for everyone involved with the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

Lady Elsie says: “It’s wonderful to see this piece of equipment actually becoming a reality and being prepared for use.

“We rely on the cancer expertise of our medical trustees who are always looking for promising new treatments which could make a real difference to people currently fighting cancer as well as helping with research into the disease.  And when they explained the benefits of the Biomarker Generator to my family and I we shared their enthusiasm.

“It’s a very significant investment for our charity, the largest we’ve made so far, and something we simply couldn’t have done without the incredible support we receive.

“It’s truly humbling when you think about the many thousands of donations and fund-raising events which have gone into making this happen.

“We’re extremely grateful to every fund-raiser and every single person who makes a donation and will continue to ensure the money is invested in the very best possible way.

“I’m very proud that the charity which my husband launched is continuing to make such a difference for other people fighting cancer.  He would share my fervent hope that this equipment helps to save lives.”

The Biomarker Generator creates radioactive tracers which are given to patients who then undergo scans, which is also known as imaging.  The information collected through this imaging helps doctors understand where the disease is in each patient, how serious the disease is, and the underlying processes and pathways that are sustaining the illness. The tracers can also be used to see whether a new drug has penetrated a tumour and whether a new treatment is damaging the tumour cells and stopping them growing.

Herbie Newell, Professor of Cancer Therapeutics at the Newcastle Cancer Centre at the Northern Institute for Cancer Research, Newcastle University, says: “The Biomarker Generator is cutting-edge technology that will allow us to make sure that we deliver the best possible care for each patient we treat, whilst learning at the same time as much as possible about our new drugs.”

Funding for the Biomarker Generator was made possible thanks to fantastic ongoing support for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, the cancer charity Sir Bobby Robson launched in 2008.

To make a donation, view messages of support, or for more information please visit www.sirbobbyrobsonfoundation.org.uk or donate by sending a cheque to Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, Room 203, Cheviot Court, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne NE7 7DN.