Early Detection and Diagnosis Research Committee

Early detection and diagnosis (ED&D) research seeks to detect and diagnose consequential precancerous changes and cancer at the earliest possible point at which an intervention might be made, reducing the burden of late-stage disease.

The Early Detection and Diagnosis Research Committee is responsible for the strategic development, funding and review, oversight and evaluation of the early detection and diagnosis research portfolio. This includes discovery and validation of signatures of early cancer, the development of the technologies to enable this, non-confirmatory clinical trials of ED&D technologies and approaches, ED&D health systems research, research to understand and optimise clinician and public behaviour to enhance ED&D and health economics of ED&D research.

The Early Detection and Diagnosis Research Committee will cover the early detection and diagnosis of precancerous changes, primary cancer and relapse/recurrence.

Research can involve discovery, pre-clinical and/or clinical/translational science which is mindful of the clinical and population context. The Committee will meet twice per year.

Funding schemes

Scientific remit

Early detection and diagnosis (ED&D) research operates across the full pathway of disease development, from the earliest changes suggesting initiation, to dysregulated growth, promotion to pre-neoplastic states/lesions, malignant conversion, and tumour progression. Each of these stages provide an opportunity to detect and diagnose a shift in state and intervene. ED&D can also be applied post-therapy to detect recurrence. ED&D research also seeks to understand and optimise the role of the public/patients, healthcare professionals and healthcare providers, and to develop and evaluate ED&D approaches in a population or clinical context, generating the requisite evidence to change practice.

We fund research in these areas:

  • Identification and validation of early detection markers and understanding of disease trajectory in order to prognose and distinguish which precancerous or early lesions will go on to be consequential from those that will not.
  • Identification of high-risk groups for early detection and diagnosis research and implementation, including to develop and evaluate novel detection technologies/approaches, or optimise existing technologies/approaches.
  • Data/computation-driven approaches to early detection and diagnosis, including biomedical/health informatics, artificial intelligence and machine learning approaches, computational/systems biology, integration of multi-modal data and modelling.
  • Development and use of appropriate preclinical model systems (e.g. cellular, organoid, xenograft, animal model) to recapitulate precancerous states and early cancer for marker identification and validation, technology development and distinction of consequential from inconsequential disease.
  • Early detection and diagnosis technology development, including exploratory and translational research involving engineering, physical and data science approaches.
  • Non-confirmatory clinical trials of early detection/diagnostic technologies or approaches, to enhance earlier detection/diagnosis.
  • Health systems research for early detection and diagnosis: research into clinical pathways for diagnosis (including alternative routes to diagnosis), service organisation, impact and delivery, referral pathways etc.
  • Research into clinician behaviour and decision support to enhance timeliness and accuracy of cancer diagnosis, including but not limited to understanding natural history of symptoms and key predictive features, enhancing clinician recognition of symptoms and appropriate referral, and decision support technology generation and evaluation.
  • Evaluation of impact of early detection and diagnosis policies and interventions to support cancer early detection and diagnosis in practice.
  • Research to understand and intervene in the behaviour of the public to enhance early detection and diagnosis, in order to increase symptom recognition/understanding/reporting, presentation to primary care and/or uptake of detection/diagnostic approaches, including the psychological and societal implications. This does not involve behavioural interventions to modify exposure to risk factors such as tobacco use, alcohol etc.
  • Research into the health economics of early detection and diagnosis of cancer.  Does not include late-stage HTA trials.

Observe a committee meeting

As part of our commitment to training the next generation of leaders in the early detection field, we're offering early-career researchers the opportunity to observe our committee meetings, held in May and November at our London offices. If you're interested in observing a meeting, please get in touch.

Mr Billy Boyle - Owlstone Medical

Professor Bissan Al-Lazikani - Institute of Cancer Research

Professor Claude Chelala - Queen Mary, University of London

Professor Fiona Walter - University of Cambridge

Professor George Hanna - Imperial College London

Professor Georgios (Yoryos) Lyratzopoulos - University College London

Professor Gerrit Meijer – Netherlands Cancer Institute

Professor Greg Rubin - University of Newcastle

Professor Katherine Brain - Cardiff University

Professor Katherine Payne - University of Manchester

Professor Katherine Vallis - University of Oxford

Professor Mark Arends - University of Edinburgh

Professor Molly Stevens - Imperial College London

Professor Nicky Best - Imperial College London/GSK

Professor Patrick Bossuyt - University of Amsterdam

Professor Peter Kuhn - University of Southern California

Professor Sam Janes - University College London

Professor Sara Rossana Zanivan – CRUK Beatson Institute

Professor Sir Mike Brady - University of Oxford

Professor Tony Ng - Kings College London

Contact us

early.detection@cancer.org.uk

Dr David Crosby

 

Dr David Crosby

Head of Prevention and Early Detection Research

Tel +44 (0) 20 3469 6086

 

Dr Alexis Webb

 

Dr Alexis Webb

Programme Manager for ED&D trials, health systems and behavioural research.

Tel +44 (0) 20 3469 5232

 

     

     Dr Talisia Quallo

     Programme manager for ED&D markers, technology and data.

 

 

 

    Dr Ana Lopez 

   Research Grants Manager

   Tel +44 (0) 20 3469 5691

 

Our strategy for early detection research

We've made early detection a strategic priority at an exciting time for this nascent field. With more than just funding, we're helping the field to establish a mature and sustainable community, and realise its full potential to transform how and when cancers are detected and diagnosed.

Early Detection Conference

Our annual Early Detection of Cancer Conference, held in partnership with the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, provides the perfect opportunity to network and build new collaborations with experts from many different disciplines.

Improving translation of research for better patient outcomes

In 2018, we held a workshop on challenges facing emerging early detection and diagnosis approaches. Our report outlines how we could accelerate translational research and implementation in the healthcare system.