Cancer theme CRUK photo

This theme’s focus:

  • Early Detection and Diagnosis
  • Integrated Cancer Medicine
  • New treatments and trials

In the UK, 1 in 2 people born after 1960 will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetime. Although diagnosis and treatment is improving, every year 167,000 people die of cancer in the UK.

The NHS Long-Term Plan wants to find ways to diagnose and treat cancer earlier and more precisely, so that 55,000 more people each year are able to survive cancer for more than 5 years following their diagnosis. Delivering this goal will be challenging. It will require collaboration between scientists, industry partners and the NHS to develop new ways to detect tumours, discover new therapies, and deploy new technologies, such as genomic medicine, artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) to create more efficient and precise treatment pathways for people with cancer.

The Cancer theme is based within the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre. We unite more than 1000 world-leading biologists, chemists, physicists, engineers, mathematicians, computer scientists, social scientists, clinicians, nurses and allied healthcare professionals across Cambridge to tackle cancer from every angle.

Our mission is to end death and disease caused by cancer through research, treatment and education.

We are detecting cancer at its earliest stage and developing personalised treatments for every patient, by facilitating new collaborations and driving the translation of new scientific discoveries into clinical applications to improve patient care. By working together across a range of different disciplines, our members are breaking down the barriers between the laboratory and the clinic, enabling patients to benefit from the latest innovations in cancer science.

In partnership with Addenbrooke’s and the University of Cambridge we are developing a new Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital to connect outstanding clinical expertise with world-class science and commercial innovation. We are creating a template for embedding early diagnosis and personalised treatment of cancer across the NHS.

Our research is enabled and enhanced by our thriving Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) group that meets regularly to review and advise all subtheme research. Patient members are included on trial steering committees and have been integral to the design of our new Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital.

The Cancer theme is addressing these national challenges and ambitions by finding new ways for:

Photo from Cancer Research UK

Early Detection

Understanding early cancer biology, creating new diagnostics, and developing cancer risk prediction tools to diagnose cancer earlier and identify ways to treat it with less-invasive and more cost-effective treatments.

Photo from Cancer Research UK

Integrated Cancer Medicine

Developing ways to acquire, curate and integrate massive patient datasets using artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) approaches to improve real-time clinical decision-making.

Photo from Cancer Research UK

New Treatments and Trials

Better use of existing treatments, including de-escalating therapy where safe and appropriate, and inventing new treatments by translating drug discoveries into clinical trials.

Credit: Photos from Cancer Research UK