Treat: Develop new cancer treatments

Centre for Drug Development

Our ambition in cancer drug development is to redefine how cancer is treated and to accelerate the delivery of the next generation of medicines to patients who need them. Our understanding of the genetic aberrations underlying cancer development and how resistance to therapies develops, underpins the large number of molecules now in development. Academic research plays a critical role in this, with new models of interaction between academia and industry driving ever faster progress.

Dr Susan Galbraith

Our approach

Lead innovation in radiotherapy and surgery

We support innovation in survery and radiotherapy as they become more tightly targeted to the tumour with fewer side effects, filling a space in which there is less incentive for industry to operate. We support: 

  • A broad portfolio of radiotherapy trials, including exciting new developments like Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy and image-guidance techniques
  • Innovation at the the CRUK/MRC Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology
  • Development of more effective cross-modality combination treatment regimes
  • Clinical academic careers to ensure surgeons have opportunities to participate in research 

Discover and develop new therapeutics

The sheer number of driver mutations, coupled with tumour evolution, necessitates continued innovation in therapeutic discovery. We are investing in therapeutic discovery and development across all modalities, and our priorities include:

  • Molecularly targeted therapies to exploit the particular genetic vulnerabilities of cancer cells
  • Manipulating the immune system to treat cancer, including by combining immunotherapies with other targeted therapies
  • Biotherapeutic approaches, including monoclonal antibodies, cell therapies and viruses

Focus on high-reward targets

Many of the most commonly mutated cancer genes are considered ‘undruggable’ targets, although some show promise in preclinical experiments. Despite decades of effort for some of these targets, no effective therapies have reached the clinic. We are supporting renewed efforts to find drugs against these high-profile targets, accepting that the risk of failure for any one approach is high, but recognising the potential to develop new drugs that could benefit a broad range of patients.

Learn more about our objectives