This week (22 November), we were very proud to announce £892,000 funding for the exciting new PROSPECT-NE genome sequencing project.

John Reid with our Patrons, Alan Shearer and Steve Harper

Lady Elsie and Foundation Patrons, Alan Shearer and Steve Harper, were taken on a guided tour of the Cellular Pathology Department at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle to see where one stage of the project will be delivered.

They were joined by John Reid from Blyth in Northumberland. John has pancreatic cancer and is the first patient to sign up to PROSPECT-NE.

Like Lady Elsie, Alan and Steve, John was fascinated to see the multiple stages involved in preparing tissue for pathological assessment.

John, a former shipyard worker, says: “It’s been very interesting seeing what’s going to happen to my samples after they’re taken.

“It’s all very complicated but I understand a little bit about the work here and I think it’s money very well spent.

“Somebody’s got to be first on the project, so why not me. If not me, it would be somebody else. I hope it’s going to work for me. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. But it gives you hope.”

Steve Harper says: “It was a pleasure talking to John. He’s the first person on the PROSPECT-NE programme and I think coming here today, being able to see and learn about everything, means he can trust the process and the wonderful work going on here.

“He has such a warm personality and was telling me all about his cancer and what the next stage is for him. Obviously, we all wish him the very best with his treatment.”

The PROSPECT-NE genome sequencing project will work with up to 800 cancer patients from across the North East and Cumbria over the next four years. It will help develop ‘personal’ cancer treatments, find out how cancer is impacting on patients’ health and determine in advance if side-effects are likely from treatment.