Birmingham will be named today as one of the UK's first centres specialising in experimental cancer medicine, as part of a £35 million initiative.

The creation of 17 new Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres, that will each receive £2 million over five years, is going to be announced to the National Cancer Research Institute conference at the International Convention Centre.

Clinicians and researchers from University Hospital Birmingham (UHB) and the Cancer Research UK Institute for Cancer Studies at Birmingham University will work together on clinical trials, and seven new jobs will be created.

This will build on the work done by the Governmentfunded National Translational Cancer Research Network (NTRAC), which had a base in Birmingham and was established in 2002 as part of the NHS Cancer Plan.

Professor Paul Moss, a haematology specialist at UHB will head up the centre, which will be responsible for testing potential new cancer treatments. He believes cancer will be "controllable if not curable" within this century.

"These are very exciting times as it is believed that, for the first time, 50 per cent of patients will be cured of cancer this year, but we mustn't be complacent, there's still a lot of work to do which is why this announcement is very welcome," he said.

"This money, which has come from the Government and Cancer Research UK, will be put into patient-led research and clinical trials to test new treatments and help us build on the research being carried out at the Institute for Cancer Studies.

"Gene therapy for prostate cancer is quite successful and a lot of work is being done on the Epstein Barr Virus which is a major cause of cancer around the world, and Birmingham is a world leader in this particular field.

"Personally I think we've seen astonishing progress in the past 20 years in cancer but the next ten to 20 years we're going to see a lot of cancers become controlled and, I hope, in 50 years it will be curable."

The other Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres will be located at Belfast, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds-Bradford-Hull-York, Leicester, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford, Southampton and five in London.

Professor Moss also backed The Birmingham Post's Cancer 2020 campaign for the Government to commit to a new Cancer Plan. ..SUPL: