An update on the project

We are delighted to have submitted a full planning application to build a new specialist cancer research hospital for the region on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. We hope to get a decision from Cambridge City Council in early summer 2023. You can read the full story and see a virtual ‘fly through’ of the new hospital on our website here.

Back in October 2022, we submitted our Outline Business Case (OBC) to NHS England and the government for approval. This document outlines the benefits the state-of-the-art hospital will bring and how we are combining cutting-edge NHS clinical space with three new University of Cambridge research institutes, so patients will benefit from the latest innovations in cancer science.

Work is now beginning on the final stage, our Full Business Case, which details our plans for the full delivery of the seven storey 26,000m² facility next to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, AstraZeneca and Royal Papworth Hospital.

The process of appointing our construction partner is underway, with four companies currently shortlisted.

We continue to work closely with staff, patients and their families, alongside our design team, to carefully shape our plans for this world-leading hospital, which supports the ambitions set out in the government’s Life Sciences Vision, and the NHS Long Term Plan.

We have a busy and exciting 2023 planned for the Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital project as we move ever closer to starting construction and turning our plans into reality.

CCRH project team

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How arts are helping to shape and influence plans for the new hospital

Arts will play a huge role in our plans for the Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital and patients and staff have been working closely with the CUH Arts team in recent months on a range of engagement activities to help shape and influence arts plans for the new hospital.

Currently, the CUH Arts team is exploring ways we can draw on the natural world and collections at Cambridge University’s Museums to humanise oncology environments for the new Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital in a number of workshops. The sessions are a starting point for thinking about the colour palette for the hospital and future arts commissions.

The workshops are open to patients, researchers, staff or members of the public to help us think about the ways that museums and hospitals can work together, and how we can take inspiration from the natural world for the new hospital.

The first workshop took place last week with a foraging walk around the Nine Wells Nature Reserve, led by artists Hannah Walker and Mia Sylvia. We received lots of positive feedback!

“I very much enjoyed the visit to Nine Wells and its somewhere I will definitely be visiting again!”
“It's a privilege to be involved! Thank you!”

Future workshops around colour and nature will explore the science and beauty of local flora and fauna at the Cambridge Botanic Garden and the University of Cambridge Herbarium, followed by a session dyeing materials using everything found along the way, at Mia Sylvia’s Studio.

The second series of workshops will take us to The Fitzwilliam Museum, the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the Museum of Zoology and the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences. These will focus on the museums and their collections with artist Hannah Jane Walker, exploring how we might be able to draw on the museum collections to humanise hospital environments.

To find out more about the workshops or to sign up to attend a session, please visit our website , email or call 01223 256 768.

CUH Arts is generously supported by Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust.

Exploring the Nine Wells Nature Reserve

Exploring the Nine Wells Nature Reserve

Taking inspiration from the natural world for Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital

Taking inspiration from the natural world for Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital


Co-producing with patients and staff

We have embraced the idea of ‘co-production’ from the start of the Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital project. This is the idea that staff, patients, and partners should work together on service design and improvement on an equal basis.

Formed from the current Cambridge University Hospitals Cancer Patient Partnership Group membership (CPPG), we have a strong Patient Advisory Group (PAG) to steer co-production through active involvement in all areas of the project, from design and construction to digital and communications.

Throughout 2022 we held 10 Design Test and Challenge meetings to further involve patients in the design of the new hospital. We covered a wide range of themes, including the catering strategy to meet the needs of patients, carers and staff in the building design.

As we move forward from the building design to how the building will be used we would like to engage our diverse communities in thinking about the interior of the hospital including signage, interior design and other factors which help to reduce stress and make patients feel welcome and supported. This includes the role that staff play in the patient experience. Much of what we learn will help us improve cancer services, not only in the new hospital, but in the current building as well as across CUH as a whole.

We attended 29 events in 2022 to share information about our plans and vision for Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital, gather feedback which we use to help shape plans and direct people to our cancer patient network. You can read more about our patient network and sign up here.

In 2023 we plan to continue to involve those we have already established relationships with and engage with more people, groups and communities through outreach and events. We know the feedback we gather will be important for the success of the new Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital and as a place that is inclusive and welcoming to all.

“I have derived enormous satisfaction from my work with the Cancer Patient Partnership Group and the Patient Advisory Group for the Cancer Research Hospital. It has allowed me to repay the hospital for the wonderful treatment I received 12 years ago which enabled me to know my grandchildren. If you are, or have been, a cancer patient or carer please consider joining the Cancer Patient Network so you can contribute to this exciting project.”
Sue Arnold, member of our Patient Advisory Group


The Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre hosts a regular podcast, exploring topics related to cancer, cancer research and cancer treatment.

Recently, two new series have been released – ‘All About Radiotherapy’ and ‘Future of Radiotherapy’

• All about radiotherapy: Listen here

• Future of radiotherapy: Listen here

There are also been two new episodes from the ‘Ask Me Anything’ series:

• Ask me anything about… living with pancreatic cancer: Listen here

• Ask me anything about… risk: communicating across disciplines: Listen here

You can find all previous episodes of the podcast on the CRUK Cambridge Centre website.

Webinar: Ask me anything about Ovarian Cancer

Would you, your family members or friends like to know more about ovarian cancer?

Do you have questions about ovarian cancer symptoms? Treatment options? Research? Clinical trials? Patient involvement? Or anything else related with ovarian cancer?

Join our experts for a free 'Ask Me Anything' webinar on Tuesday 7th February 2023, 6-7pm on Zoom.

Please sign up and reserve your spot by clicking here.

The panel will include:

  • Professor James Brenton, a Senior Group Leader at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute and Professor of Ovarian Cancer Medicine at the University of Cambridge, Honorary Consultant in Medical Oncology at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and co-lead of the CRUK Cambridge Centre Ovarian Cancer and Integrated Cancer Medicine Programmes.
  • Dr Joo Ern Ang, a Consultant in Medical Oncology at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Dr Pathiraja Pubudu, a Consultant Surgeon in Gynaecological Oncology at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Dr Cathal McCague, a Clinical Research Associate and PhD student at the University of Cambridge, and Honorary Radiology Registrar at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Dr Gabriel Funingana, a Clinical Research Fellow in Medical Oncology and PhD student at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute.
  • Rhianydd Jones, a Specialist Dietitian at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Nicola Day, a Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist in oncology rehabilitation and exercise at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Dr Marie-Lyne Alcaraz, Programme Manager for the CRUK Cambridge Centre Ovarian Cancer Programme and lead of their Ovarian Cancer Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Group.
  • Fiona Barve, one of our amazing patient representatives, who was diagnosed with high-grade serous ovarian cancer nearly 6 years ago.

First UK proton beam therapy trial for breast cancer launches

A UK trial is underway to test the benefits of proton beam therapy for certain patients with breast cancer, led by Professor Charlotte Coles, an oncology consultant at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

The PARABLE trial will compare proton beam therapy – which can target radiotherapy beams more precisely – with standard radiotherapy for patients who are at greater risk of long-term heart problems after treatment.

In the UK, proton beam therapy is only available to NHS cancer patients at two centres in London and Manchester and is significantly more expensive compared to standard radiotherapy.

So far there have been no large trials to investigate if there are benefits for breast cancer patients.

Standard breast radiotherapy is really effective for most people with very few side effects, but there is a small group of patients for whom proton beam therapy may be a better option.
- Professor Charlotte Coles

The trial is being led by researchers at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH), the University of Cambridge, The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and managed by the Cancer Research UK-funded Clinical Trials and Statistics Unit at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR).

One of the first recruits is Kim Jones, 44, from Ely in Cambridgeshire.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2022 after noticing some thickening of the skin and painful twinges in her left breast.

Her GP referred her for urgent scans at the breast clinic, and after having mammograms, ultrasounds and biopsies, the diagnosis was confirmed.

Kim was then referred to Addenbrookes, where she had chemotherapy followed by a mastectomy and lymph node removal.

Following acceptance to the PARABLE trial, Kim's proton beam therapy commenced at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester on 24 October 2022.

“When I was told that I'd been accepted onto the trial, I felt very lucky to have the opportunity to get this treatment. Clinical trials are incredibly important as they are the best way to evaluate which treatments work the best.

“The proton beam therapy centre at The Christie is bright and spacious and feels very relaxing. My experience of being treated at Addenbrooke’s and now at The Christie so far has been superb. The staff are wonderful and seem to have thought of everything. Their care is second to none, and I feel completely safe in their hands.
- Kim Jones

Following the proton beam therapy, Kim will have further treatment at Addenbrooke's.

You can read more here.

Professor Charlotte Coles

Professor Charlotte Coles

Kim Jones

Kim Jones

Latest cancer news from Addenbrooke's, University of Cambridge and CRUK Cambridge Centre

Online platform to check for prostate cancer risk
Cambridge scientists have created an online tool for predicting an individual's risk of developing prostate cancer, to enable more targeted testing, treatment and early diagnosis.

New hope for kidney cancer treatment
Cambridge researchers have discovered a drug used to treat lung cancer could potentially help patients with a type of kidney cancer called renal cell carcinoma.

Cancer patients to help trial 'life saving' home testing kit
Addenbrooke’s hospital is helping trial a new home-testing device to check if cancer patients are at risk from a serious side effect of chemotherapy.

Major funding for Cambridge to find cancer treatments
Around £3 million has been awarded to Cambridge doctors and scientists to boost research into new cancer treatments, including vital trials involving Addenbrooke's patients.

Technique for tracking resistant cancer cells could lead to new treatments for relapsing breast cancer patients
Cambridge scientists have managed to identify and kill those breast cancer cells that evade standard treatments in a study in mice. The approach is a step towards the development of new treatments to prevent relapse in patients.


Patients and their families are involved in the CCRH project in two groups; the Patient Network and the Patient Advisory Group (PAG). For more information on joining these groups, please visit the CCRH website.

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