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Cancer Research UK news

17 July 2017

Strategy progress report, Early Detection Research Committee, and a new chief clinician announced.

Strategy progress report 

In 2014 CRUK published a strategy with the ambition to accelerate progress and see 3 in 4 patients surviving cancer within 20 years. The strategy set out our priorities and outlined the approaches they would take to achieve this. A progress report, published in June 2017, sets out a high-level view of progress since the strategy’s launch. Alongside ongoing dialogue with the UK and international research community, they have sought input and challenge on their progress from supporters, patients and those affected by cancer. The aim is not just to support the best research, but to ensure that their focus and priority areas are those that will transform outcomes for patients.

The four objectives include:

  • PREVENT- More than 40% of all cancers diagnosed in the UK are attributed to lifestyle and environmental factors, but achieving large-scale behaviour change is a huge challenge. CRUK are tackling cancer prevention in a holistic way, from tobacco control to preventive treatments. 
  • DIAGNOSIS- Earlier diagnosis of cancer offers the greatest potential for transformational improvements in patient outcomes. They pledged to take a leading role in this area, leveraging the range and breadth of their expertise and infrastructure.
  • TREAT– They recognised a need for therapeutic innovation covering a breadth of treatments – drugs, radiotherapy and surgery – and bringing in new perspectives, mechanisms and methods. They will continue to invest in treatment innovations, and to lobby for more rapid adoption of them into the healthcare system.
  • OPTIMISE– The aspiration is to make precision medicine a reality in the UK, with patient treatment decisions being made on a truly individual basis, and for doctors to have access to a wide range of effective treatment combinations. 

Early Detection Research Committee

CRUK are convening a new Early Detection Research Committee that will award funding for research into the early detection of cancer. They are challenging the research community to focus efforts, drawing together disparate activity across many areas of cancer research and across disciplines – including biomedical sciences, physical sciences, engineering, mathematics and industry – to bring in new thinking and build novel early detection research projects.

The Committee will consider early detection research as investigations that enable the detection of cancer, or pre-cancerous states, at the earliest possible time point at which an intervention might be made. The ambition is to build to an annual investment of £20 million in this area by 2021.Initially, the committee’s remit will include:

Project awards- Catalytic awards to stimulate and support new lines of early detection research, of up to £500k for up to 3 years; and  

Programme awards- High-level support for ambitious research programmes to enable significant progress in early detection research of up to £2.5m for up to 5 years.

New chief clinician

Prof Charles Swanton (pictured in background) has been appointed as CRUK’s new chief clinician. Prof Swanton, who will also join the charity’s executive board later this summer, now leads a team at the Francis Crick Institute working on an internationally acclaimed clinical study, TRACERx, analysing how lung cancer develops.


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