A comprehensive approach to ‘early detection’ must include individual risk, prevention, screening, improved symptomatic diagnosis, and management of early disease. There are several research programmes in this domain in Cambridge, and as yet untapped expertise in many applicable technologies. Additional funding as one of the CRUK Major Centres provides an opportunity to develop early detection as a major focus of the Cambridge Cancer Centre with an integrated approach across basic research in the physical and biological sciences, population science and clinical research.
Why early detection? When cancer is found earlier, it can be easier to treat successfully.
What is the CCC “Early Detection” programme? Early detection refers to the detection of cancer at an earlier time point in the natural history of the disease than would otherwise have occurred under current detection and diagnostic paradigms. While earlier detection might be considered in the context of detecting disease relapse, the Early Detection programme of the Cambridge Cancer Centre is limited to the detection of primary disease.
CCC Early Detection Programme Aims
- To create a strong, virtual network of groups in Cambridge with a focus on earlier detection.
- To develop relevant population based and clinical resources.
- To facilitate the creation of new programmes and projects focused on the detection of preinvasive disease.
- In the longer term to establish a physical “Early Detection Research Centre” to create a nucleus of activity within the Cambridge Cancer centre.
The Early Detection programme is truly multidisciplinary. Research within the Early Detection Programme encompasses:
- Biology of cancer initiation and progression to invasion in order to: better understand the natural history of disease; identify biomarkers relating to individual disease risk, detection and prediction
- The development and evaluation of new methods of detecting invasive and preinvasive lesions.
- Clinical studies to evaluate new preventative and therapeutic interventions arising from 1) and 2), with regard to improving clinical outcomes.
Projects in the Early Detection programme include:
- Investigation into the accumulation of amyloid as a biomarker for cancer
- Using new technology to develop a test for oesophageal cancer
- Development of a novel test for the diagnosis of prostate cancer
- Investigation into the development of second primary tumours in survivors of previous upper aerodigestive cancers.