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Record science spend for Cancer Research UK

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by Cancer Research UK | News

14 September 2006

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Cancer Research UK spent a record £257m last year on research investigating the causes and improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer, according to its annual report and accounts published today (Thursday 14 September, 2006).

The Charity’s annual spend on research increased by £35m (16 per cent) on the previous year, making Cancer Research UK the largest single funder of cancer research in Europe.

Chief Executive, Professor Alex Markham, said: “Over the past year thousands of lives have been saved through improved cancer treatments, earlier detection and effective health awareness campaigns.

“Over the next year, we will see the results of key pieces of Cancer Research UK research and campaigning. The introduction of smokefree legislation and the bowel cancer screening programme will save many lives.

“The process of scientific research is hugely expensive but it is more than worth the investment. The improved survival rates we are now seeing for many types of cancer are proof that cancer research delivers results.”

Cancer Research UK is dedicated to research into the causes, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of every type of cancer. It funds 3,500 research scientists, doctors and nurses throughout the UK.

The Charity aims to increase its research expenditure to £350m by 2010 to continue this vital work. The Charity has approved £534m for future grant payments and is investing in a new Cambridge Research Institute, which will become operational by the end of 2006 and will house more than 20 world-class research groups. The scientists and doctors in the Institute will focus on converting findings in the laboratory into new treatments and other clinical applications as quickly as possible.

The Charity is the largest single force behind progress in cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment in the UK. It is also a leader in the development of anti-cancer drugs from their discovery at the laboratory bench through to early clinical trials in cancer patients. Over the next five years, the Charity is planning to double its investment in drug discovery and development.

Some of last year’s achievements included:

  • Cancer Research UK played a significant role in ensuring that smokefree legislation was approved in its entirety across the UK. As a result, all enclosed public places in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be smokefree by summer 2007.
  • A new joint venture with the four devolved UK Departments of Health, to develop a network of UK Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres. This groundbreaking initiative will see 19 planned Centres across the country, working to fast track new treatments for cancer patients.
  • Supporting research that helps to ensure that 12 per cent of cancer patients in England are enrolled in clinical trials.
  • Acting as a major contributor to the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI), the coalition dedicated to improving cancer research in the UK.
  • More than 45 new projects were initiated by Cancer Research Technology (CRT), an oncology-focused development and commercialisation company wholly owned by Cancer Research UK.

The high level of success was made possible by strong fundraising efforts. The Charity’s fundraisers, volunteers and donors have responded magnificently to this challenge.

One of the Charity’s most successful fundraising events is the Cancer Research UK Race for Life series. Sponsored by Tesco, more than 550,000 women participated in the races last year and raised £43m – an event unmatched in the UK charity sector.

Relay for Life – a new event led by volunteers and cancer survivors – enjoyed a very promising first year, generating income that exceeded target by more than 40 per cent.

The Charity’s legacy income remained a strong part of the fundraising portfolio, growing by six per cent during the year to £132m.

To meet our ambitious spending targets for research and other related activities, we face a similar or even greater fundraising challenge in the current year.

As well as being a world leader in research, the Charity also provides information and advice to the public. It funds a team of specially trained cancer information nurses who offer a valuable, confidential and personalised service for cancer patients and their families and deal with around 1,000 enquiries each month.

The Charity also funds CancerHelp UK – – a user-friendly information website written by cancer experts in plain English. The website is designed to help patients and their families find answers to a wide-range of questions about cancer, from diagnosis and treatment to information about clinical trials.

Cancer Research UK also runs health campaigns to raise awareness about how people can help prevent cancer and to encourage people to act on early signs and symptoms.


For more information, please contact the Cancer Research UK press office on 020 7061 8300 or, out of hours, the duty press officer on 07050 264059.