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Jennie Bond reports for BBC News
"The Prince is not making a political point"
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Fergus Walsh reports for BBC News
"Every year 250,000 people in the UK are told they have cancer"
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Wednesday, 8 December, 1999, 09:13 GMT
Prince backs breast cancer blitz
Prince Charles and Camilla A friend of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles has breast cancer

The Prince of Wales opened the UK's first dedicated breast cancer research centre on Wednesday.

The Prince met staff at the new 25m laboratories at the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre at the Institute of Cancer Research, in west London.

Like so many others, I have been profoundly affected by cancer through the experiences of my own family, friends and acquaintances
The Prince of Wales
He urged men to become involved in the fight against breast cancer when he became patron of the charity in December 1998.

Before opening the new centre, he explained how cancer had had a devastating impact on people close to him.

"Like so many others, I have been profoundly affected by cancer through the experiences of my own family, friends and acquaintances," said the Prince.

George VI George VI suffered from lung cancer
Prince Charles's grandfather George VI was stricken by lung cancer before his death in 1952.

Eight years ago his friend and cousin Lord Romsey and his wife Penny lost their daughter Leonora Knatchbull to a kidney tumour.

Writer Candida Lycett-Green, 57, a friend of both Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles is currently battling breast cancer, while Amanda Ward, 57, whose husband Gerald is godfather to Prince Harry, is also battling the disease.

Bleak truth

Prince Charles told the Daily Mail: "The statistics illustrate the bleak truth - that we cannot afford to be complacent, in this and many other areas of cancer.

"I believe the wide-spread effects of cancer on all of us can only highlight the importance of work continuing on all fronts - research, diagnosis, treatment and care of those with cancer.

"It is crucial that more effort is now ploughed into laboratory research which is the foundation for clinical work to improve treatment of breast cancer."

Biologists and chemists will be working together in the new complex in a co-ordinated approach to halve the time it normally takes to design and develop new cancer drugs from 10 to five years.

Breakthrough Breast Cancer chief executive Delyth Morgan said: "The challenge now is to deliver the science which will be of practical benefit to people affected by breast cancer."

Professor Alan Ashworth, director of the centre, said: "Breast cancer is a very complex disease with many causes.

"We need to understand the molecular basis of breast cancer. We know it is a disease of genetic origin but we need to understand which genes are disrupted and why.
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See also:
23 Sep 98 |  Medical notes
Breast cancer factfile
25 Nov 99 |  Health
Microwave hope for breast cancer
02 Nov 99 |  Health
Revolutionary cancer drug arrives in UK
19 Oct 99 |  Health
Breast screening 'should be extended'
18 Sep 98 |  Health
Chemotherapy that beats breast cancer
14 Jun 99 |  Health
Purple ribbon cancer campaign launched

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