Cancer Research UK: Early Detection and Diagnosis Research

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Transformative potential of ED&D to improve health outcomes

Detecting cancers at an early stage has the potential to revolutionise patient outcomes. Patients diagnosed early, at stages 1 and 2, have the best chance of curative treatment and long-term survival. But in the UK, we are currently diagnosing just over half of patients at an early stage , demonstrating significant opportunity for improvement.

Significant challenges exist that impede the translation and implementation of novel early detection and diagnosis (ED&D) technologies and approaches and research in this field often struggles to achieve proper validation due to numerous factors, such as: low visibility of the field, fragmentation of the research community, poor industry engagement and lack of scale.

ED&D is emerging as a strategic priority in the UK and globally due to its potential to transform patient outcomes and the need to overcome the challenges outlined above. ED&D is a key strategic priority for Cancer Research UK (CRUK), and our ambition is to accelerate progress towards seeing three-quarters of cancers detected at its earliest stages (stage 1 or 2) by 2034.

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Cancer Research UK is raising the global profile of ED&D and driving forward progress

We’re raising the profile of ED&D, tackling the challenges facing the field and driving forward progress by:


  • Offering opportunities for funding to support innovative, collaborative ED&D research ideas.
  • Exploring novel engineering and physical sciences-based approaches, through innovative, non-traditional approaches, such as sandpit workshops.
  • Creating opportunities to build Industry-Academia research collaborations through our networking events.
  • Driving international collaborations with world leading researchers to work at the forefront of technological innovation to translate research into realistic ways to improve cancer diagnosis.
  • Bringing together multidisciplinary researchers across industry and academia through events such as The Early Detection of Cancer Conference, to discuss and debate trending topics in ED&D.
  • Convening a landmark, cross-sector Early Detection and Diagnosis of Cancer Roadmap which will set the direction of travel for the ED&D ecosystem. Due for publication October 2020.

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Find out more

If you’d like to discuss opportunities in Early Detection and Diagnosis, please contact

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We’re delighted that Rebecca Crallan, Head of Cancer Intelligence at Cancer Research UK will be speaking on the “Let’s Connect” session at MedTech Integrates on 15th October, 2020

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About Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK is the world’s largest independent funder of oncology research, investing over £450m per year into basic biology, translational and clinical cancer research. In addition to its therapeutic activities, the charity is increasingly focussing its efforts on the development of new diagnostics, medical devices and data/software/AI-driven approaches to detect, diagnose and treat cancer earlier and more effectively.

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Cancer Research UK: Early Detection and Diagnosis Research