Today, the American philanthropist and fashion designer, Ralph Lauren and the Duke of Cambridge, President of the Royal Marsden Cancer Foundation officially opened the Ralph Lauren Centre for Breast Cancer Research at The Royal Marsden Hospital, a four million pounds centre in Chelsea at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis for women. Globally, 1.4 women receive this diagnosis and 460,000 die from the disease each year.
The Duke has served as president since 2007. Founded in 1851 as a Free Cancer hospital by Dr. William Marsden. The royal family has been involved with the hospital since 1910 when King George V gave it the Royal charter of Incorporation.
Mr. Lauren revealed that he was inspired by his friendship with the late Diana, Princess of Wales to open this cancer research centre. He spoke of the great honour of continuing the life-saving work with Diana’s son.
He told The Telegraph: “Having known Princess Diana and how much she cared about the important research pioneered by The Royal Marsden, I am uniquely honoured to partner with her son HRH The Duke of Cambridge and see that work carried on and supported with his great dedication and the opening of our Ralph Lauren Centre for Breast Cancer Research. Together, I hope our efforts can bring hope and a cure for so many affected by this disease in the UK and around the world.”
The research centre will begin a pilot program at the end of this year that, if successful, could allow a simple blood test to be performed to determine if any cancer remains in the blood after a woman’s diagnosis has been put into remission. The centre will also test a new drug, which will put the tumor in to “suspended animation” when combined with a standard drug. This could lower oestrogen levels in post-menopausal women. This hormone benefits tumors in these women.
The two gentlemen were given a guided tour of the facilities where they met staff and patients undergoing treatment. Prince William while chatting with a patient, disclosed he had friends who had suffered with cancer.
Mr. Lauren reflected how the disease affects everyone in the family, not just the person who receives the diagnosis: “I have a daughter and a wife and it’s a family situation. The mother might have it, the sister might have it, but…the family goes through it, it involves everybody.”
After they unveiled a plaque the commemorate the centre, Prince William said: “Seeing the courage and spirit of the patients I met today, it would be hard not to feel positive about the work being done here, and the real difference it makes. A difference which I know extends beyond the four walls of this hospital, to cancer patients across the UK and internationally.”