uk cancer funding, NCRI
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The National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) released figures today (4 February) showing that NCRI funding has reached £700 million for the first time

Lung cancer has become the second most funded research, closely following the amount spent on breast cancer. The list of cancers which have the worst one and five-year survival rates are the key priorities for funding, which has seen their spending increase in comparison to the year 2017/18.

Which cancers have the worst survival rates?

• Stomach
• Oesophageal
• Lung
• Brain
• Liver
• Pancreatic

Analysis of the NCRI’s 18 partner organisations shows that cancer research funders in the UK have increased their collective spend, for the first-time spending over £700m in the year 2018/19. This follows five years of spending increases and the highest level of funding since NCRI started collecting data in 2002.

Commenting on the findings of how cancer funding has increased, Dr Iain Frame, CEO of NCRI said:

“I am hugely encouraged to see that the trend for increasing cancer research spend continues. At NCRI we are excited about the increase in spend in Early Detection, Diagnosis and Prognosis research and we expect that our Screening, Prevention and Early Diagnosis Group will drive high-quality research in this area.

“Looking to the future we hope to see the work of the NCRI Living With and Beyond Cancer Group translate into more funding being available in this area, particularly in areas such as palliative and end of life care which currently receives very little funding.

“We hope that our partners and the cancer research community can use these data to identify trends and gaps in funding across a range of research areas.”

This increase in funding was driven by a 9% increase in spend in Early Detection, Diagnosis and Prognosis research. Research into Treatment and Cancer Control, Survivorship, and Outcomes Research received less funding than in previous years.

What kind of cancer innovations can be discovered with funding?

Cecilia Van Cauwenberghe, discussing the need for oncology development exclusively with us, said:

“There is a rising demand for the discovery and development of new proteomic biomarkers in oncology. Proteomic biomarkers are gaining increasing attention in companion diagnostic platforms.

“Therefore, both medical diagnostics and pharmaceutical companies are working closely to fuel ground-breaking innovations that will enable enhanced diagnosis and management of a wide range of cancer indications.”

Earlier this month, an international team identified over 350 DNA ‘errors’ that increase risk of developing the disease, creating a map of breast cancer risk.

Dr Laura Fachal from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, said:

“We know from previous studies that variants across our DNA contribute towards breast cancer risk, but only rarely have scientists have been able to identify exactly which genes are involved.

“We need this information as it gives us a better clue to what is driving the disease and hence how we might treat or even prevent it.”

The map must be studied globally – and for researchers outside of the Wellcome Institute, this means getting serious funding.


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