With Grand Challenge funding, Professor Greg Hannon, is looking to create an interactive 3D map of a tumour, in order to understand more about how cancer cells behave and interact with normal cells.
Our research in Cambridge
Last year, we spent over £56m on research in Cambridge to pioneer new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.
Cambridge is home to the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute and the Cambridge Centre, which deliver world-leading research that transforms discoveries in the lab into real benefits for people with cancer.
You can now take a virtual tour around the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute and see inside the labs where our researchers carry out their life-saving work.
Creating virtual reality maps of tumours
Helping more children survive brain tumours
The Children’s Brain Tumour Centre of Excellence, based at the University of Cambridge and Institute of Cancer Research, brings experts together to discover new treatments for tumours in children.
Mapping the genetic landscape of breast cancer to personalise treatment
Professor Caldas is searching for the genes that go wrong in breast cancer. He hopes to use this to personalise diagnosis and treatment, giving patients the best possible chance of survival.
What we’re doing now
Cancer Grand Challenges
As well as Professor Hannon’s virtual reality tumour maps project, several other researchers in Cambridge are involved with Cancer Grand Challenges projects.
For example, Professor Sir Mike Stratton, Director of the Wellcome Sanger Institute in Cambridge, is leading a team that spans five continents and aims to build a deeper understanding of what causes DNA damage and how it leads to cancer. Their work could help prevent more cancers and reduce the global burden of this disease.
Launched in 2016, the Early Detection Programme, co-led by Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald and Dr Sarah Bohndiek, sees several different research teams working on a diverse set of challenges – from understanding the origins of cancer to developing inexpensive and non-invasive tools that will help doctors identify the early signs of the disease. Recently, the University of Cambridge was announced as one of five partners that make up the International Alliance for Cancer Early Detection (ACED).
At our CRUK Cambridge Institute, Dr Nitzan Rosenfeld leads a lab group that is using samples of patients’ blood – known as liquid biopsies – to develop sophisticated new ways to detect and monitor cancer. As tumours develop and grow, they release tiny bits of DNA into the blood that can be fished out and analysed. Dr Rosenfeld and his colleagues have shown that this ‘circulating tumour DNA’ (ctDNA) can be used to track how cancers are evolving in response to treatment, and to monitor disease spread.
At the Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Professor Antonis Antoniou is developing tools to predict people’s risk of getting ovarian, breast and prostate cancer. Accurately predicting people’s risk of cancer will mean that those at high risk of these cancers can be monitored to catch the disease earlier and those with low risk can avoid unnecessary screening.
Dr Inigo Martincorena is a group leader at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. He and his team are collecting samples from healthy people and people with early-stage pancreatic cancer to investigate the changes in our DNA that cause the disease. This work could form the basis for new tools that allow doctors to intervene and stop the cancer early, while there are better chances of survival.
Our Cambridge Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) is a unique partnership between CRUK, the University of Cambridge and Cambridge University hospitals. The Cambridge ECMC brings together lab-based scientists and clinical researchers, enabling them to share ideas and resources to drive the discovery, development and testing of new anti-cancer treatments and tests for patients.
In addition to its adult expertise, the Cambridge ECMC recently became a member of the Paediatric Network, which specialises in early phase clinical trials in children and young people with cancer.
The Therapeutic Discovery Laboratories (TDL) in Cambridge and London bring the best minds in basic and clinical cancer research together with the rigour and drive of pharmaceutical and biotech companies.
4,700 people are diagnosed with cancer each year.
55% of cancers are diagnosed early.
- We spent over £51m on life-saving research in 2020/21.
We receive no government funding for our research. Our life-saving work relies on the money you give us.
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Our strategy to beat cancer sooner
Our vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.Our new strategy will give us the foundations we need to tackle the challenges ahead.