Cancer's toughest challenges

In October 2017 the independent advisory panel set eight Grand Challenges opening a call to the international, multidisciplinary research community.

Three teams have now been funded, meet the teams.

Tissue Specificity Grand Challenge

Tissue Specificity

Devise approaches to prevent or treat cancer based on mechanisms that determine tissue specificity of some cancer genes                                                                                        

Cancer vaccinology Grand Challenge

Tumour Vaccinology

Create novel tumour vaccinology approaches that establish or enhance successful immune responses beyond what is revealed by current checkpoint therapy

Treatment Regimens Grand Challenge

Treatment Regimens

Define mechanistic rules for combinatorial treatments to overcome resistance and avoid toxicity


Dormancy Grand Challenge


Identify and target tumour cells that remain dormant for many years after seemingly effective treatment



Lethal non-lethal Grand Challenge

Lethal vs non-lethal 

Distinguish between lethal cancers which need treating, and non-lethal cancers that don’t


Deep Learning Grand Challenge

Artificial Intelligence 

Detect cancer earlier by interrogating medical and non-medical data sets using machine and deep-learning


Microbiota Grand Challenge


Improve treatment responses by manipulating the composition and status of the microbiota                                        


Cancer Causes Grand Challenge

Cancer Causes

Determine the mechanisms that cause cancer without known mutagenesis, such as obesity, in order to devise novel interventions

Our role in beating cancer globally

Cancer Research UK is the largest independent funder of cancer research in the world. Find out more about how we're beating cancer sooner on a global scale


  • Any country
  • Any discipline
  • Any academic institution or commercial entity
  • Any career stage

Get in touch

lucy shaw


To discuss the Grand Challenge initiative please contact

Dr Jess Sutcliffe

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