University of Cambridge: Cambridge Biomedical Campus celebrates 60 years with £2bn boost to UK economy

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A new economic impact report details the financial contributions of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus (CBC), which celebrates its 60th anniversary this autumn. The independent report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) for the first time calculates the economic benefits of CBC also highlights the health and research benefits for the region.

The success we have on the site is not just limited to improved healthcare and treatments for patients – we generate jobs and income for businesses across Cambridge and the East of England
Kristin-Anne Rutter
The key findings of the report are:

The campus supported an aggregate economic footprint of £2.2 billion worth of Gross Value Added to the UK economy and that as well as being the largest employment site in Cambridge, over 15,000 additional roles are supported across the regional supply chain and local businesses.
For every 10 jobs directly generated by organisations on the CBC, a further 2.7 jobs are supported within Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire; one in every six jobs in the local authority areas are either directly or indirectly supported by the campus.
Employment on site is growing much faster than the rest of the UK and that £721m is spent by employees across the regional economy.
Looking at the wider economic picture, the research highlights that in 2021 the site reported a collaborative operating income of £1.9 billion, as well as contributing £291million to the Exchequer through tax revenues.

In addition to the new report, a series of events are planned to celebrate the success of the campus spanning 60 years and to tell more stories about the globally significant research that goes on.

Dr Kristin-Anne Rutter, Executive Director at Cambridge Biomedical Campus, said: “The economic impact report for the first time demonstrates the importance of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus to the region, and to the thousands of people who work here and rely on the organisations, whether it’s as a patient or someone working on the site. The success we have on the site is not just limited to improved healthcare and treatments for patients – we generate jobs and income for businesses across Cambridge and the East of England. We do this through collaboration, with research, industry and the NHS working together to drive innovation which is then shared.

“The report is an important milestone, so too is our 60th anniversary and throughout September we’ll be highlighting some of the amazing developments and ideas which have happened since Addenbrookes hospital and the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology arrived on the Hills Road site. We’ll be sharing how the campus has grown and how science is taken from laboratories into hospitals, to diagnose and treat patients with world-leading innovative healthcare.”

Alongside the major economic impact of CBC, the research that takes place on the campus has very real and direct healthcare benefits, fuelled by innovation and discoveries that sit at the very forefront of life sciences technology and knowhow.


Life-saving treatments
Below are some of the case studies of how patients have been given, or are set to benefit from life-saving treatments, discovered and developed at CBC but with the potential to literally change the lives of people across the world.

Cytosponge: A ‘sponge on a string’ test to detect oesophageal cancer
Around 9,100 people are diagnosed with oesophageal cancer each year in the UK. A big challenge with this type of cancer is that many people don’t realise there’s a problem until they start to have trouble swallowing. Often, these symptoms aren’t recognisable until a later stage in the disease.

But there may be an opportunity to detect the disease earlier. Some people develop a condition – called Barrett’s oesophagus – prior to developing into cancer. Barrett’s oesophagus is much more common than oesophageal cancer, and although it will only become cancer in a handful of cases, it presents an opportunity for doctors to spot a problem early and intervene before cancer develops. But the typical test for Barrett’s oesophagus, endoscopy, is both invasive and expensive.

Enter the Cytosponge.Cytosponge-TFF3 test is a ‘sponge on a string’ device coupled with a laboratory test called TFF3 developed by scientists funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Cancer Research UK – a simple, quick and affordable test for Barrett’s oesophagus that can be done in a GP surgery.

Ethanol breath biopsy clinical trial for early lung cancer detection
A new clinical trial has launched at Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge which is using ethanol (an alcohol) detected in exhaled breath as a potential tool to diagnose lung cancer earlier. The EVOLUTION trial is recruiting patients who definitely have lung cancer and healthy volunteers who definitely do not.
A liquid solution containing a metabolic probe is administered intravenously, travels around the body and when it reacts with a lung tumour causes the release of ethanol. After a set amount of time, patients breathe at regular intervals into a special mask which collects the ethanol which is then analysed in the laboratory. The eVOC probe (Exogenous Volatile Organic Compound) has been developed by Cambridge company Owlstone Medical, who have collaborated with Royal Papworth Hospital’s thoracic oncology research team for previous breath biopsy studies.

Changing the future of ovarian cancer
Each year, about 7,500 women in the UK are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and around 5,000 will have the most aggressive form of the disease. The cure rate for women with ovarian cancer is very low, despite new medicines coming into the clinic. Only 43% of women in England survive five years beyond their ovarian cancer diagnosis, compared with more than 80% of people for more common cancers, such as breast (85%) and prostate (87%). This is because the disease is often diagnosed late, treatment options are limited, and many women develop resistance to current therapies. Research by Professors James Brenton and Evis Sala, at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre, aims to address this.

Life-changing artificial pancreas
An artificial pancreas developed by Cambridge researchers is helping protect very young children with type 1 diabetes at a particularly vulnerable time of their lives.

The artificial pancreas uses an algorithm – CamAPS FX – to determine the amount of insulin administered by a device worn by the child. It is available through a number of NHS trusts across the UK, including Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and the team hope it will soon be available even more widely.

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