Round 2 shortlisted teams

Back in June 2017, we opened the second round of our £20m Grand Challenge funding award. Our world-leading panel set eight new Grand Challenges and invited multidisciplinary teams from across the world to suggest bold, novel approaches to tackle them.

We received 134 applications spanning 41 countries and have shortlisted 10 multidisciplinary, international teams. The teams will now use £30,000 seed funding to work up their applications for interview later this year.

Uncovering how obesity causes cancer

Lead: Dr Meritxell Huch 
Grand Challenge: Cancer Causes 
Countries: Austria, The Netherlands, UK and USA

Dr Huch's team want to investigate what’s happening inside our cells when they are exposed to too much fat, and how that can lead to cancer. 

This team is made up of biologists, clinicians, geneticists, pathologists and physicists 

Unravelling how chronic inflammation causes cancer

Lead: Professor Rong Li 
Grand Challenge: Cancer Causes 
Countries: UK and USA

Professor Li's team want to scrutinise people’s DNA in supreme detail to find out how inflammation can damage or alter a cell’s chromosomes, and then define how this can lead to cancer.  

​​This team is made up of of biologists, bioengineers, geneticists and epidemiologists. 

A new way to tackle inflammation-associated cancer

Lead: Professor Thea Tlsty
Grand Challenge: Cancer Causes 
Countries: Canada, Israel, UK and USA

Professor Tlsty's team want to find novel ways of treating cancer that has been caused by inflammation, and develop new options to prevent cancer developing in high-risk patients with chronic inflammatory diseases. 

This team is made up of pathologists, system biologists, bioengineers, gastroenterologists, microbiologists, immunologists and biologists.  


Looking out for cancer

Lead: Professor Sara Faithfull 
Grand Challenge: Artificial Intelligence 
Countries: The Netherlands and UK  

Professor Sara Faithfull's team want to analyse people’s consumer and behavioural habits for clues that might indicate if a person has cancer and to address the ethical and privacy issues of accessing personal data. 

This team is made up of physicists, clinical innovators, data scientists, health policy experts, clinical oncologist, academic lawyers and health informaticians


Mining medical records for early signs of cancer

Lead: Professor Henk van Weert 
Grand Challenge: Artificial Intelligence 
Countries: Denmark, The Netherlands and UK

Professor van Weert's team want to use machine-learning technology to mine electronic health records and public databases for clues that could help GPs identify patients that are showing early signs of cancer. 

This team is made up of GPs, informaticians, epidemiologists, psychologists and neuroscientists.


Eliminating sleeping cancer cells

Lead: Professor Peter Croucher 
Grand Challenge: Dormancy 
Countries: Australia, Israel, UK and USA 

Professor Croucher's team want to create a map of the biological environment around dormant cancer cells and the processes that control them, so that treatments can be developed to stop cancer returning.  

This team is made up of biologists, immunologists, geneticists, haematologists and epigeneticists. 

Eradicating tumours with personalised cancer vaccines

Lead: Professor Lindy Durrant
Grand Challenge: Tumour Vaccinology
Countries: Germany, The Netherlands, UK and USA 

Professor Durrant's team want to build vaccine templates for how to treat different cancers, with the hope that eventually cancer patients will be offered a vaccine that is specifically designed for their unique tumour. 

This team is made up of immunologists, surgeons, neuroimmunologists, biologists and clinicians. 

Understanding why cancers grow in some tissues and not in others

Lead: Professor Stephen Elledge 
Grand Challenge: Tissue Specificity
Countries: The Netherlands and USA

Professor Elledge's team want to generate a comprehensive map of cancer drivers and their specificity to different tissues. This has the potential to improve our basic understanding of cancer, and provide information that will impact therapeutic choices for patients.

This team is made up of geneticists, clinicians and bioinformaticians. 

Working smarter, not harder: improving treatment combinations

Lead: Professor Jean-Pascal Machiels and Dr Anthony Kong
Grand Challenge: Treatment Regimens
Countries: Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy and UK

Professor Jean-Pascal Machiels and Dr Anthony Kong's team want to use artificial intelligence and computer modelling to determine the optimum treatment combination for each individual patient, transforming outcomes on a global scale.

This team is made up of clinicians, bioinformaticians, biologists, immunologists and mathematicians. 


Manipulating the microbiome to beat bowel cancer

Lead: Professors Matthew Meyerson and Wendy Garrett
Grand Challenge: Microbiota 
Countries: Canada, The Netherlands, Spain, UK and USA 

Professors Meyerson and Garrett's team want to discover exactly how certain microbes inside the body lead to cancer development and influence a patient’s response to treatment.  

This team is made up of genomicists, microbiologists, geneticists, immunologists, biologists, epidemiologists and pathologists. 


Meet the teams currently receiving funding 

In 2017, with the generous support of our donors and The Dutch Cancer Society, four Grand Challenge teams were funded – each receiving up to £20m to take on some of the toughest challenges in cancer research.

In November 2018 the next round of funded teams will be announced. Until then, check out the projects that are currently recieving funding. 




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