Programmes overview

The Centre supports a broad range of cross-cutting programmes including large population studies of cancer risk, developing novel imaging techniques to detect and monitor cancer, and understanding what goes wrong inside tumour cells. Academic and clinical researchers from different University departments and research institutes are encouraged to collaborate on research projects with the aim of stimulating new approaches and novel research methods for tackling the challenges of cancer science.

The Centre supports 12 major interdisciplinary research programmes...
Cambridge is uniquely placed to bring together research and clinical expertise to develop a strategic approach to the prevention, early intervention in high risk individuals and early detection of lung and colorectal cancer. Leading research skills include cell and developmental biology, imaging, epidemiology and public health, chemistry and nanotechnology.
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Every year around 50,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in the UK. Five out of six women with breast cancer in England and Wales survive for at least five years; however, around 1,000 UK women still die of breast cancer every month. Breast cancer research in Cambridge is aiming to increase the survival rate through large-scale population studies to determine which genes are responsible for causing breast cancer, genetic barcoding to identify different cancer...
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The Cambridge Cancer Centre is developing novel technologies to look inside cancer cells. Imaging plays an increasingly important role in our translational priorities of drug development, through ‘first-in-man’ experimental medicine studies, with parallel studies in pre-clinical models, and in early detection. The aim of advancing imaging technologies and applications draws on Cambridge’s strengths in chemistry, physics, applied mathematics and engineering, and is an...
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A major research focus across the Cambridge Cancer Centre is furthering our understanding of the molecular and cellular structure of pre-cancerous cells so that patients at risk of developing cancer are identified earlier. Researchers and clinicians work together to apply scientific discoveries to the clinic, through finding new ways of detecting cancer as early as possible and developing treatments to stop tumours growing and spreading.
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Early diagnosis and intervention is a key priority and addressing this requires a unique combination of genetic epidemiology, coupled with strengths in genomics, epithelial biology, imaging, mouse models, and computational and systems biology. Understanding the basic biological events that precede invasive disease also requires a combination of approaches and disciplines. Taking this research into clinical application relies on close collaborations with patients,...
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The investigation of haematological malignancies (cancers of the blood, bone marrow and lymph nodes) represents a significant area of clinical and research activity. Our understanding of how and why blood cancers develop is underpinned by basic research into how blood cells develop normally and what happens at the earliest stage of malignancy. Research is closely aligned with clinical treatment so that patients receive the best diagnostic and therapeutic options based...
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Over 4,000 people are diagnosed with new cases of brain or central nervous system (CNS) cancer every year in the UK. Glioblastomas are the most common and aggressive form of brain tumour in adults. Research at the Cambridge Cancer Centre is focused on understanding the different types of brain tumours that develop in both adults and children, finding the most effective ways of diagnosing brain tumours as early as possible, developing new treatments and monitoring how...
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The translation of new discoveries in the laboratory into better treatments for patients is a priority for the Cambridge Cancer Centre. Onco-innovation provides a collaboration point for our colleagues in the pharmaceutical industry as well as members from University departments in the physical sciences. It is the combination of disciplines that provide the greatest opportunity for innovation and novel approaches.
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Advanced ovarian cancer is difficult to cure. Most patients are free of the disease after completing initial surgery and chemotherapy but the cancer usually comes back. This is because resistance to chemotherapy develops. Scientists are studying the genetic changes that occur in tumours to understand what causes cancer cells to become resistant to drugs. They are also using new imaging technology so they can monitor how tumours are responding to treatment and whether...
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The most common childhood cancers are cancers of the blood (leukaemias) and cancers of the brain and central nervous system; together they account for over half of the cancers diagnosed in children. Between 2008–2010, around 1,600 children were diagnosed with cancer each year in the UK. More than 8 in 10 children now survive five years or more, compared to just 3 in 10 in the 1960s. Consequently, much research is now directed at minimising the late effects of cancer...
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Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths. Less than 20% of patients are candidates for surgery at diagnosis. There are few available treatment options for the remaining patients, and so most survive for only a few months. These needs are driving our research and clinical focus at Cambridge. Scientists are involved in research into the biology of pancreatic cancer, identification of biomarkers, epidemiological studies and clinical trials with the...
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Prostate and renal cancers are key contributors of cancer related death and morbidity. Early detection and optimal primary treatment improves cure rates and reduces progression to metastasis in both cancer types. Our Clinicians and scientists have developed closely integrated multi-disciplinary research themes including; exploring new markers and imaging for early detection, better modelling of early disease biology, improved methods of risk stratification and novel...
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