Our research in London

Last year, Cancer Research UK (CRUK) spent over £153m in London on cancer research to find better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, where 33,800 people are diagnosed with cancer annually.

We fund ground breaking work at the Francis Crick Institute, where researchers are looking into the fundamental biology underlying health and disease to uncover new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat illnesses.

We also fund two new major centres of excellence: the City of London Centre and the Convergence Science Centre, and five CRUK Centres in London:


Connecting research in London

Across the capital, Cancer Research UK is fostering relationships between researchers to tackle cancer from all angles, as well as funding initiatives throughout London to help beat cancer.


The CRUK City of London Centre

Dendritic cells

This £14m investment brings together expert researchers in a global centre of excellence for cancer biotherapeutics – a new generation of treatments using living cells from the body to fight cancer.

The CRUK Convergence Science Centre

Convergence Science Centre

Researchers from the Institute of Cancer Research and Imperial College London are working in new ways to speed up scientific discovery and innovation for people with cancer.

Tackling the major challenges in radiotherapy


CRUK RadNet is a network of centres of excellence and state-of-the-art facilities working with the research community to make radiotherapy more powerful and personal.

What we're doing now


Spotting cancer earlier

Professor Brendan Delaney, at Imperial College London, is revolutionising cancer diagnosis. While General Practitioners (GPs) are in a unique position to help individuals spot the early signs of cancer, the initials symptoms of cancer can sometimes be similar from those of other health conditions. Professor Delaney is using artificial intelligence to develop a ‘diagnostic support system’ to help GPs diagnose illnesses based on a patient’s symptoms.

Dr Stuart McDonald, a rising star at Barts Cancer Institute, is investigating why some people develop oesophageal cancer from Barrett’s oesophagus. His team are looking at how the cells in the food pipe differ between patients with Barrett’s and those without, and he’s hoping to shed light on why some patients with Barrett’s go on to develop cancer and others don’t. With this information, he hopes to be able to pinpoint which patients need monitoring, enabling earlier diagnosis and increased survival for this hard-to-treat cancer.

Investigating immunotherapy

Dr Sheeba Irshad, CRUK Clinician Scientist Fellow at the CRUK-King's Health Partners centre, is investigating the role of the immune system in tackling cancer.

The immune system has emerged as a potentially powerful ally in tackling certain cancers. Immunotherapy is a cancer treatment that works by helping the immune system recognise and attack cancer cells. Dr Sheeba Irshad is investigating how cells from the immune system move within tumours. By understanding the signals involved, Dr Irshad hopes to find a way to encourage particular types of immune cells to move into the tumour and kill cancer cells. While Dr Irshad’s primary focus is on breast cancer research, her current work may have implications for the treatment of many different types of cancers.

Personalising cancer medicine

Professor Charlie Swanton at the Francis Crick Institute and Mariam Jamal-Hanjani of University College London are leading TRACERx, the largest genetic study to see how lung cancer evolves to help personalise treatment.

Their team’s research has shown that a blood test can help doctors detect traces of tumour DNA. Doctors can then predict if the disease will return up to a year before a tumour shows up on scans.  This research could help doctors stay one step ahead of the disease and help more people survive.

Discovering new treatments

Professor Bissan Al-Lazikani at the Institute of Cancer Research, London, is building a world-leading drug discovery resource for the cancer research community.

Current technology allows cancer researchers to do huge amounts of analysis faster than ever, producing masses of information about patients, tumours, potential drugs, drug targets and much more. To make the most of this information, Professor Bissan Al-Lazikani and her team produced canSAR, an online open-access database which is used by over 150,000 scientists from 180 countries around the world to accelerate their research progress.


Our impact


Scientists in London developed new cancer drugs

Our scientists developed a molecule that later became the drug abiraterone, which can be used to extend the lives of men with prostate cancer. UK’s National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), approved the drug in 2012. Our scientists also helped develop and trial the drug temozolomide, which can treat patients with glioblastoma brain tumours. NICE approved the drug in 2001 for treating patients whose disease has returned after standard treatment. In 2007, NICE then approved it as a treatment for newly diagnosed patients with glioblastoma.

Scientists in London Improved Cancer Screening

Our scientists at Imperial College London discovered an innovative way to screen for bowel cancer, which could reduce an individual’s chance of developing this disease by 33% through the removal of precancerous ‘polyps.’

Our scientists studied the impact of cervical screening as part of crucial work in the development of the UK national cervical screening programme, which saves thousands of lives each year. 

Scientists in London Introduced a New Field of Cancer Research

Our scientists discovered what role the molecule EGFR plays in cancer development, overturning widely held ideas on the causes of cancer in the scientific community. This discovery also led to the development of several cancer drugs that are being used today to treat cancer patients.


In London

  • We spent nearly £153m in 2018/2019.
  • 49-57% of cancers are diagnosed early.
  • 13,700 people die from cancer each year.

We receive no government funding for our research. Our life-saving work relies on the money you give us.

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.

Get in touch

Contact the team in London.

Volunteer in London

The energy, passion and support of our volunteers is helping make sure that 3 in 4 people survive cancer by 2034. Join us and help beat cancer sooner.