Sutton Council to present plans for world-leading cancer research and treatment centre in borough

Plans for the development of the London Cancer Hub – a new global centre for cancer research and treatment planned for Sutton – have reached another significant stage.

The vision is to create a world-leading life-science campus specialising in cancer research, treatment, education and enterprise. It will be located on the Sutton site of The Institute of Cancer Research, London and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in Belmont.

Sutton’s Liberal Democrat Council is seeking approval for the London Cancer Hub Development Framework at the Housing, Economy and Business Committee on Tuesday 27 September.  The Framework spells out in detail the plans for the Cancer Hub.

The project will be a partnership between the London Borough of Sutton and the Institute for Cancer Research (ICR), with supporting partners The Royal Marsden, the Greater London Authority and the Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Cllr Ruth Dombey, Leader of Sutton Council, said:  “This is one of the most exciting projects to be undertaken in Sutton since the borough was created more than fifty years ago. And I'm proud to say it is only likely to happen because of the vision and initiative of our Liberal Democrat Council. 

“We are delighted to be working closely on this project with the Institute of Cancer Research who are considered to be the most important cancer research body anywhere in the world, outside the United States.”

The total transformation of the Sutton site will see inward investment in excess of £1 billion over the lifetime of the project. The London Cancer Hub is expected to create more than 13,000 new jobs in the borough – 7,000 life-science, clinical and support staff, and another 6,200 in the site’s construction. It will be a cradle for talent, offering research and development space for biotech, pharma and software companies, and equipment manufacturers.

Sutton Council also plans to build a new free school on the site, providing secondary education for up to 1,275 students and benefitting from being part of the life-science campus.

It is hoped the London Cancer Hub will also bring further public transport investment into the borough through the creation of an integrated transport system extending the Tramlink from Wimbledon to Sutton Station via Morden and onwards to the Belmont site.

The Hub will form one of three outstanding life-science districts within London. As such, it will be one of the most significant regeneration projects in the capital and will require the co-ordinated efforts of public institutions and private partners.

Ruth Dombey said: “The London Cancer Hub will create thousands of employment and training opportunities for local people. It will be a tremendous boost for our local economy by providing new business opportunities and drawing visitors to the borough.

“We look forward to working with our key partners to help us achieve this ambition for London and Sutton and delivering the transport infrastructure needed to support this world-leading site.”

The London Cancer Hub Development Framework document says: “The London Cancer Hub is intended to substantially increase the rate of discovery of new treatments and their availability for cancer patients. It will double the space available for world-class cancer research, treatment and care, and deliver a wide range of state-of-the-art scientific facilities.

“The initiative aims to further enhance the experience of patients who are treated on the site. It will create an exceptional healing environment, provide a range of amenities to patients and their families, improve transport links and provide public and green spaces.”


The ICR expanded to Sutton in 1956 and The Royal Marsden acquired part of the site in 1962.

Major discoveries and developments at the site include:

  • Many of the early chemotherapies, including busulfan, chlorambucil, melphalan and carboplatin, which are still widely used.
  • Modern high-precision radiotherapy techniques, which shape beams of radiation to precisely fit the contours of a tumour.
  • The prostate cancer drug abiraterone – now used as standard treatment throughout the world. Abiraterone was discovered by the ICR at the Sutton site, and early clinical trials were carried out with The Royal Marsden to develop the treatment for patients. 
  • The first cancer treatment to be targeted at an inherited genetic fault, olaparib, was tested in Sutton in early trials led by the ICR and The Royal Marsden.

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