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Cancer Research UK sets ‘bold’ research ambition

A new international alliance made up of Cancer Research UK and partners has announced plans to develop “radical new strategies” and technologies to detect cancer at its earliest stage.

The “bold” ambition is just part of the new transatlantic research alliance, which claims that understanding the biology of early cancers and pre-cancerous states will allow doctors to find accurate ways to spot the disease earlier and where necessary treat it effectively.

It could even enable “precision prevention” – where the disease could be stopped from ever occurring in the first place.

The alliance partners include Canary Center at Stanford University, the University of Cambridge, the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, UCL and the University of Manchester, a combination that will make up The International Alliance for Cancer Early Detection (ACED).

The involved teams of scientists span the UK, in order to create a globally unique platform that is able to test and validate early detection innovations in real-world hospital and healthcare settings.

Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said: “Now is the time to be ambitious and develop effective new ways to detect cancer earlier. It’s an area of research where we have the potential to completely change the future of cancer treatment, turning it into a manageable and beatable disease for more people.

“Real progress in early detection can’t be achieved by a single organisation. Benefits for patients will only be realised if early cancer detection leaders from around the world come together. No more siloes, no more missed opportunities; let us tackle this problem together and beat cancer.”

Areas of research within the alliance will include developing new improved imaging techniques and robotics, to detect early tumours and pre-cancerous lesions and increasing understanding of how the environment surrounding a tumour influences cancer development.

The charity will also invest an essential cash injection of up to £40 million over the next five years into ACED, and Stanford University and the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute will also significantly invest in the Alliance, taking the total potential contributions to more than £55 million.