Rippon new chief at Worldwide Cancer Research

Dr Helen Rippon

St Andrews-based Worldwide Cancer Research said it has appointed Dr Helen Rippon as its chief executive to succeed Norman Barrett, who is retiring after eight years with the organization.

Previously director of research, Rippon (pictured) has been overseeing the charity’s programme of research funding and acting as scientific adviser to the chief executive and the board.

Worldwide Cancer Research said Rippon has broad experience of managing diverse research grant programmes with charities such as Prostate Cancer UK and Age UK.

“Since joining Worldwide Cancer Research in 2012, she has grown the charity’s research funding strategy and policies, transformed the way the charity talks about its pioneering science to supporters, and directed a significant internal restructure,” said the charity.

Rippon has a Ph.D in Molecular Biology from the University of York and was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Imperial College London.

As chief executive, Rippon will continue oversight of the grant programme — with an annual research spend of £10 million and current portfolio value of over £30 million — and will be responsible for the delivery of the charity’s new and ambitious five year strategy and vision.

“I am delighted to be taking the helm of Worldwide Cancer Research — we have an exceptional and unique perspective on funding pioneering, early-stage cancer research across the globe and at some of the world’s leading research institutions,” said Rippon.

“And whilst in many respects it is a turbulent and rapidly changing world for charities, there has never been a more exciting time to be funding cancer research. Research that we hope will one day change the way the world sees cancer.”

Findings from Worldwide Cancer Research grant holders have boosted advances in diagnosis and treatment across a wide range of cancer types.

The charity’s research has resulted in several patented chemical compounds that could become cancer drugs of the future.

It was also involved in the early-stage development of olaparib, the first in a brand new class of cancer drugs, which has recently received approval for prescription on the NHS to help in the treatment of advanced ovarian cancer.