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Oak Cancer Centre opens

His Royal Highness (HRH) Prince William, The Prince of Wales has formally opened the Oak Cancer Centre at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, in Sutton, Surrey.

Funded by The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, the Oak Cancer Centre is a state-of-the-art research and treatment facility that will help accelerate the development of new cancer treatments offering hope for cancer patients worldwide.


Named after Oak Foundation, which donated £25 million to The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity’s £70 million Oak Cancer Centre appeal, the new facility will enable clinicians to diagnose cancers at an earlier stage, and has been designed to enhance patient’s experience.

The new building has been designed as a signature building at the world-renowned hospital and research hub in Sutton, located adjacent to The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR). The Oak Cancer Centre is an integral component of the new ‘London Cancer Hub’ - an emerging ‘knowledge cluster’, which will become a global leader for cancer research, treatment, and innovation.

Carefully considered, clinical design by BDP has created a blend of world-leading cancer research space bringing together researchers in the Kuok Research Centre and outpatient activity, including 63 chemotherapy chairs in the Olayan Day Care Unit and the new Charles Wolfson Rapid Diagnostic Centre.


The provision of areas where staff and patients can interact with the healing qualities of nature is vital to the design. This creates a contemporary environment and a peaceful atmosphere with easy access to natural daylight, views, and fresh air.

Over six floors, the architecture has integrated multiple, easily accessible external terraces with a striking pergola on the top floor. Each of these provides crucial breathing space for respite for staff and patients. All 63 chemotherapy bays are oriented towards a newly landscaped garden, providing views of green space which enhance patients’ feelings of calm and wellness. The westerly aspect, full height glazing, and external vertical shading fins deliver a filtered, dappled sunlight effect to further enhance feelings of tranquillity.

Using the very latest technology, the new Charles Wolfson Rapid Diagnostic Centre and the Kuok Research Centre will provide spaces for world class scientific research and development, which will advance lifesaving treatments and enable earlier, faster diagnosis for more people, enhancing outcomes.  It also brings together more than 400 scientists and researchers into a space designed specifically to encourage collaboration at the very heart of the building. The design deliberately embraces the visibility and transparency of this vital work to provide a reassuring presence and real sense of progress and advancement for those being treated.


BDP’s Architect Director, Dominic Hook explains: “Cancer centres are where some of life’s most stressful moments happen, so throughout the design process we wanted to ensure patients would receive treatment in the best possible environments. Every part of the architecture here is considered so that anxious patients are not further stressed by being disorientated or struggling to find their way around. They will be able to enjoy great views, peace and quiet while receiving chemotherapy. A legible and accessible design means those attending the new outpatient department will be able to undergo blood tests, see their consultant and collect a prescription, all on the same floor.

“I have no doubt that this building will improve the lives of the patients who use it. In our small part, we have helped create a place that can bring support, comfort and reassurance to people who need it. It was a privilege to work on a project that will truly make a difference.”

Andrew Wilson, Operations Director at main contractor ISG, commented: “The Oak Cancer Centre represents a significant advancement in bringing together clinicians, researchers and patients in an environment that positively supports collaboration. Technology has been a key facilitator during the construction phase, with cutting-edge visualisation tools used to spatially plan and maximise patient and clinician outcomes, and this will then follow through into the operation of the building and the use of ground breaking diagnostic and treatment technologies.“

Dame Cally Palmer, Chief Executive of The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, adds: “The Oak Cancer Centre will help the hospital to go faster and further in the delivery of research and cancer treatments and provide the very best environments for our patients. We are extremely grateful to everyone who supported The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity’s £70m fundraising appeal. The Oak Cancer Centre would not have been possible without generous Charity support from individuals from across the world, demonstrating what can be achieved when global philanthropy works in partnership with the NHS.’’


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