The Parasol Foundation Centre for Women’s Health and Cancer Research
We’re working in partnership with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and the Parasol Foundation to support vital research into women’s health.
Established in March 2022, the Parasol Foundation Centre for Women’s Health and Cancer Research will focus on developing advanced treatments for women’s cancers, such as ovarian cancer, and helping us better understand the health impacts of pre-term birth.
Female scientists will be at the forefront of this important work, with a key focus on creating opportunities for women to progress in their research careers.
The research centre is being funded by a £2.68 million donation from Ms Ruth Monicka Parasol and the Parasol Foundation, which has a strong commitment to improving women’s health and enabling women to pursue successful careers in research and STEM fields.
Based at Imperial College Healthcare, the centre’s programme of research will take place across facilities at Hammersmith Hospital and St Mary’s Hospital in north west London.
It will open up a brand new care pathway for women with gynaecological cancers, underpinned by the latest research and treatments. The Parasol Foundation’s support will enable Imperial College Healthcare to purchase innovative surgical equipment and award three fellowships for women to lead research in the field.
Three additional grants will be awarded to help Imperial College Healthcare continue its world-leading pre-term birth research, exploring approaches to reduce the likelihood of premature labour – the biggest cause of infant death and disability in the UK - and improve outcomes for women who may be at risk.
As part of the centre's research programme, scientists are also beginning exciting research using blood samples provided by women during their maternity care that could help us learn more about the links between life-threatening infectious diseases and pregnancy.
And a further study is also under way to investigate the barriers that make it harder for women to progress their clinical academic careers in healthcare.
Funding awarded through the Parasol Foundation Centre will help women like Dr Paula Cunnea. Paula is a research fellow working to improve the treatments available for women affected by ovarian cancer. Her fellowship will enable her to continue important research at Hammersmith Hospital, learning more about why some women develop resistance to chemotherapy and developing more personalised treatments.
“We want to be able to personalise the care for patients so they get the best treatment for their type of cancer.”
Dr Paula Cunnea, Research Fellow
As a specialist in pre-term birth, Dr Lynne Sykes is working to understand more about what causes premature labour and how it can be prevented in the future. Funding through the Parasol Foundation Centre has provided her with the security to continue her research over the next five years. During this time she hopes to develop treatments that will help women progress their pregnancies to full term and deliver their baby at the right time.
“The funding has given me a unique opportunity to plan for the next five years of my research work.”
Dr Lynne Sykes
The Parasol Foundation Centre for Women's Health and Cancer Research is generously supported by Ms Ruth Monicka Parasol and the Parasol Foundation. The Foundation has a strong commitment to improving women’s health and creating opportunities for women to pursue successful careers in research and STEM fields.
If you would like to learn more about the partnership between Imperial Health Charity and the Parasol Foundation and our plans to expand the programme, please contact:
1 - Dr Lynne Sykes
2 - Dr Lynne Sykes, Dr Paula Cunnea, Ms Ruth Monicka Parasol, Professor Christina Fotopoulou