New plaque marks partnership to fight breast cancer

Health news

A plaque to mark a historic partnership between Breast Cancer Campaign and the University of Leeds, which is leading the fight against breast cancer, was unveiled in Leeds on Monday (November 10).

The plaque, at the Wellcome Trust Brenner Building at St James’s University Hospital, was unveiled by V Craig Jordan, a University of Leeds alumnus who developed Tamoxifen, formerly a contraceptive, into a drug to fight breast cancer.

Professor Jordan had given the Annual Alumni Lecture 2014 on 25 October, entitled 'Unlikely Action, unexpected consequences - Leeds’ role in breast cancer breakthrough – the Tamoxifen tale'.  

The University of Leeds is the coordinating centre for the Breast Cancer Campaign Tissue Bank, the first initiative of its kind in the UK.

Tissue banking in the UK actually began in Yorkshire in the early 1950s, as a collaboration between the University and Leeds General Infirmary.  

The revolutionary Breast Cancer Campaign Tissue Bank is a unique national resource for researchers in the UK and Ireland, to collect and store tissue samples safely and consistently. Tissue samples donated by patients from across the UK are made available to scientists to study how and why breast cancer develops and spreads, and to devise the best possible treatments.

Since its foundation in 2010, Breast Cancer Campaign has invested over £2 million in the Tissue Bank.

Professor Valerie Speirs, of the School of Medicine at the University of Leeds, said: “As we try and win the fight breast cancer, we are extremely grateful for the support of the charity Breast Cancer Campaign and we are proud to have such a vital resource as the Breast Cancer Campaign Tissue Bank here in Leeds.”

Lisa Wilde, Director of Research, Breast Cancer Campaign, said: “We’re delighted to be here today for the unveiling of this plaque to honour our continued relationship with the University of Leeds. The Breast Cancer Campaign Tissue Bank is the UK’s first ever national breast cancer tissue bank and a fundamental step towards finding a cure for breast cancer.  It is thanks to our founding partners ASDA Tickled Pink and Walk the Walk – as well as our incredible supporters – that funding for such an incredible initiative continues to be made possible. The on-going work of the Tissue Bank will play a vital role in helping us reach the milestone that by 2050 breast cancer will be overcome and outlived.”

The Tissue Bank also has sites at Barts Cancer Institute at the University of London, the University of Dundee, the University of Nottingham and the University of Sheffield.

Further information

From left to right: Professor V Craig Jordan;  Professor Valerie Speirs, University of Leeds; Dr Lisa Wilde, director of research at Breast Cancer Campaign; Professor Andrew Hanby, breast pathologist; Sir Alan Langlands, vice-chancellor, University of Leeds.

Photo credit: Adam Robinson Photography.

Professor Valerie Speirs is available for interview. Contact Ben Jones in the University of Leeds press office on +44 (0)113 343 8059 or email