International Alliance for Cancer Early Detection
We have a bold ambition to accelerate and revolutionise research in the early detection of cancers by harnessing some of the best science across the UK and US.
The International Alliance for Cancer Early Detection (ACED) is a new £55 million partnership between Cancer Research UK, the Canary Center at Stanford University, the University of Cambridge, the Knight Cancer Institute at OHSU, University College London and the University of Manchester.
We are uniting world leading researchers to tackle the biggest challenges in early detection, an important area of unmet clinical need. Scientists in the Alliance are working together at the forefront of technological innovation to translate research into realistic ways to improve cancer diagnosis, which can be implemented into health systems and meaningfully benefit people with cancer.
Why we created the Alliance
Earlier detection of cancer offers the greatest potential for transformational improvements in patient outcomes. We know that when cancer is diagnosed earlier it's easier to treat, and causes patients to suffer less and live longer. But like looking for a needle in a haystack, the minute size of early tumours and the very low levels of tell-tale early cancer signs makes it incredibly difficult to detect cancer early.
For several decades, progress in early detection research has been limited by the unique scientific and clinical challenges of this field:
- Early detection research hasn't been prioritised and visibility of the field is low, restricting career development opportunities
- Fragmentation of the research community with few mechanisms to coordinate research, share discoveries and accelerate progress across institutions
- Lack of a clear model for industry collaboration
- Access to critical resources such as early disease tissue samples and longitudinal patient data
Canary Center at Stanford
ACED Member Centre Director: Professor Utkan Demirci
ACED Programme Manager: Dr Ryan Spitler
The Canary Center is a world-class research facility dedicated to cancer early detection programmes, with a mission to discover and develop diagnostic and imaging systems for the detection and prognosis of cancers during their early, curable stages. The Canary Center integrates research on both in vivo and in vitro diagnostics to deliver these tests, by housing state-of-the-art facilities and collaborative research programs in molecular imaging, proteomics, chemistry, cell and molecular biology, and bioinformatics. These initiatives have extensive links to the Stanford Cancer Institute, forming a direct pipeline for translation of early cancer detection research into clinical trials and practice.
University of Cambridge
ACED Member Centre Director: Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald
ACED Programme Manager: Dr Wendy Alderton
Led by Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald, the Cambridge ACED Member Centre is leveraging the success of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre Early Cancer Institute to provide world-class early detection expertise to the Alliance. Central to this is ACED Clinic Cambridge, which provides critical infrastructure to accelerate implementation of the most promising approaches for the early detection of cancer into patient benefit. Cambridge has a strong commitment and track record in fostering multi-disciplinary collaborations and is dedicated to the training and development of the early detection researchers of the future.
Knight Cancer Institute at OHSU
ACED Member Centre Director: Professor Sadik Esener
ACED Programme Manager: Dr Erin Watson
Our mission at the Cancer Early Detection Advanced Research Center (CEDAR) is to detect and stop lethal cancers at the earliest stage because early detection saves lives. This is an ambitious goal, one that requires novelty, creativity, and innovation. We conduct groundbreaking translational cancer research to help people maintain a high quality of life and reduce cancer mortality, to create a global early detection community, and to have a positive impact on the Oregon economy. By leveraging the world-class researchers at OHSU and the Knight Cancer Institute, CEDAR can improve patient lives through collaborative projects in engineering, genetics, early cancer biology, population science, clinical oncology, and clinical trials.
University College London
ACED Member Centre Director: Professor Mark Emberton
ACED Programme Manager: Dr Dan Kelberman
The UCL ACED Centre aims to predict and inform the role of imaging and its integration with other biomarkers in cancer early detection. We will drive the integration of imaging and non-imaging biomarkers, maximising image-derived prediction and prognosis. We are able to address image-based early detection approaches, utilising imaging and biomarkers, by access to our large and well-annotated patient cohorts linked to downstream clinical outcome. By enhancing our data infrastructure we aim to extend access to these cohorts across ACED, comprising more than 200,000 participants.
University of Manchester
ACED Member Centre Director: Professor Rob Bristow
ACED Programme Manager: Dr Martin Bone
Manchester has a rich heritage in prevention and early detection research, from the discovery of novel biomarkers that help diagnose and detect cancer sooner, to modelling how cancer develops and understanding the risks that lead to people developing cancer. Led by Professor Robert Bristow and Professor Gareth Evans, ACED Manchester aims to build on this heritage and leverage the pre-existing strengths of the Manchester eco-system to deliver novel innovations in prevention and early detection research. As part of our infrastructure award, we are expanding lung and breast screening to seek those in our community who are most at risk of developing cancer and provide curative treatment earlier.
Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald, University of Cambridge
Professor Rob Bristow, University of Manchester
Professor Utkan Demirci, Stanford University
Professor Mark Emberton, University College London
Professor Sadik Esener, Knight Cancer Institute at OHSU
Professor Maria Goddard, University of York
Dr Laxmi Parida, IBM Fellow
Professor Shana O. Kelley, Northwestern University
Sir David Lane, Karolinska Institute
Dr Roderic Pettigrew, Texas A&M University
Professor Josephine Bunch, National Physical Laboratory
Professor Stephen Friend, University of Oxford
Professor Amanda Cross, Imperial College London
ACED publications and news
Sara Benitez Majano et al. Do presenting symptoms, use of pre-diagnostic endoscopy and risk of emergency cancer diagnosis vary by comorbidity burden and type in patients with colorectal cancer? British Journal of Cancer. 05 November 2021.
Becky White et al. Does changing healthcare use signal opportunities for earlier detection of cancer? A review of studies using information from electronic patient records. Cancer Epidemiology. 01 February 2022.
Yaozhi Lu et al. Deep Learning-Based Long Term Mortality Prediction in the National Lung Screening Trial. IEEE Access. 24 March 2022.
Hannah Harrison et al. The current state of genetic risk models for the development of kidney cancer: a review and validation. BJU International. 22 April 2022.
Stephanie Archer et al. Personalised Risk Prediction in Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer: A Protocol for a Multi-Centre Randomised Controlled Trial. Cancers (Basel). 31 May 2022.
We meet four inspiring ACED PhD students carrying out research that could transform the ways in which we diagnose cancer in the future.
One year on, we look at four recently awarded research projects, which show how the Alliance is building a scientifically diverse and collaborative research community in the UK and the US.
If you’re interested in hearing more about ACED, have a question about funding opportunities for collaborative research, or would like to discuss a strategic academic or industrial partnership, we’d love to hear from you.
Sign up to our newsletter to hear about exciting ACED developments and opportunities.
At CRUK, early detection of cancer is one of our top priorities and we have funding and other support to help you develop your early detection research, whether you're established in the field, early in your career, or applying your research to early detection for the first time.