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Bringing early detection leaders together to drive progress globally

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by Cancer Research UK | Research Feature

18 April 2018

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International Cancer Early Detection (ICED) Alliance


We’re boosting our support for early detection research by investing up to £40 million over the next five years to build an alliance of outstanding UK and US centres. As part of our strategy to see 3 in 4 patients surviving cancer by 2034, we’re launching the International Cancer Early Detection (ICED) Alliance to accelerate research in this innovative field by uniting world-leading centres of excellence in early detection and bringing together cutting-edge research, expertise and resources.

We’re pleased to announce that we’re opening applications for UK research institutions to become member centres of the ICED Alliance in June. This initiative will support members to build capacity, share knowledge and develop new talent. But above all, it will facilitate the exchange of people and resources between UK and US research locations, supporting collaborative research and helping to drive novel biological insight, as well as advances in technology and data science.

While critically important for improving patient outcomes, early detection of cancer has faced many challenges as a research field, including a lack of dedicated large-scale investment, and a fragmentation of expertise and effort between research institutions and countries.  We want to enable a step-change in early detection research by bringing together the best minds in the field, supporting new collaborative ideas and enabling this significant challenge to be taken on in an appropriately significant way by creating this innovative international Alliance.

— David Crosby, Head of Early Detection Research at Cancer Research UK

Applications to become a UK member centre should be made for 5 years of funding requesting a total of between £3.3m and £5m. We will contribute up to £10m in total to support two to three UK members. The application process will open in June with a decision on membership being made in autumn 2018. Successful applicants will need to demonstrate existing strengths in early detection research and how membership of the Alliance would benefit their institution as well as other Alliance members, helping catalyse a step change in the research field.

We want to stimulate greater collaboration among the world’s thought leaders, in what could be the most important transformative area of research for cancer.

— Harpal Kumar, CEO at Cancer Research UK​

We’re in discussions with a number of world-leading US institutions who have expressed a keen interest in being part of the Alliance. Once selected, UK and US members will work together to develop a joint funding proposal focused on how they will support collaboration and infrastructure development across the Alliance, as well as training for the next generation of early detection researchers. In total, we will commit up to £40m to the Alliance for 5 years, and we anticipate that this will be increased through investment from other sources.