FOOTBALLERS, farmers and cricketers have helped fund cutting edge research to diagnose cancer faster in Gloucestershire.

A pioneering new study is underway at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital which uses fibre optic light to detect thyroid cancer, potentially giving an instant diagnosis for patients.

£6,000 of funds towards the study came from Growers United FC.

Growers United uses sport to bring together people in different communities working in food and agriculture in the Vale of Evesham. Every year they raise tens of thousands of pounds for charity.

Bal Padda from GUFC said: “We are a collective of UK growers who organise sporting events to unite and support communities and, above all, give back by raising funds for local and national charities. We are only too pleased to be able to help this amazing charity and that our donation is going to fund this pioneering cancer research.”

The Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust research team (Biophotonics Research Unit) has previously demonstrated it is possible to tell the difference between healthy and cancerous tissue by measuring the light emitted when a low power laser is shone upon the tissue.

This new study will develop the diagnostic technique further and has the potential to benefit Gloucestershire patients with suspected thyroid cancer, who are often aged in their 30’s or 40’s. It is also hoped this technique could then be used to help assist in the diagnosis of breast and other cancers in the future.

It was made possible thanks to £12,000 given to FOCUS, the charitable fund for the Gloucestershire Oncology Centre.

The research using the Raman Spectroscopy technique is being run jointly between Gloucestershire Hospitals’ Oncology and Biophotonics team. Biophotonics is concerned with the use of light to study biological tissues, cells and molecules.

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow Dr Alex Dudgeon, who has been working alongside head and neck Surgeon Mr Charlie Hall to prepare for start of the trial, said: “With early detection a key factor in the successful treatment of cancer, this technique has real potential to improve the speed of diagnosis and treatment for future cancer patients.

Dr Dudgeon added: “We are so grateful for all the donations and the fundraising as this enables the development of new techniques with potential to benefit patients in Gloucestershire in the future. We look forward to sharing the results of the trial with our supporters in the autumn 2019.”