Cancer Research UK, NCI launch $380 million Cancer Grand Challenges

Cancer Research UK, NCI launch $380 million Cancer Grand Challenges

Cancer Research UK — the world's largest independent cancer research nonprofit — and the National Cancer Institute have announced a $380 million joint funding initiative aimed at addressing critical obstacles in cancer research.

Commitments of $155 million from Cancer Research UK and $225 million from NCI in support of the Cancer Grand Challenges initiative will be used to accelerate transformative advances in cancer research. To that end, the two organizations will co-fund as many as four grants per funding round of up to $25 million each over five years — among the largest awards for cancer research in the world. Specific challenges to be addressed by the global cancer research community will be announced in October. 

The initiative builds on Cancer Research UK's Grand Challenge initiative, which, in partnership with the Dutch Cancer Society and Mark Foundation for Cancer Research, has provided seven teams with $170 million since 2017. Milestones achieved by the currently funded teams include identification of a strain of E. coli that may be implicated in up to 5 percent of colorectal cancer cases and the creation of a detailed breast cancer map that reveals how genetic changes shape the physical tumor landscape.

"We need to take our understanding of cancer up a gear," said Nobel laureate Sir Paul Nurse, who chairs the Cancer Grand Challenges Scientific Committee. "Cancer Grand Challenges will allow the global research community to work in synergy together to make the advances that patients around the world need. [It] is a platform that brings together governments, philanthropists, foundations, and charities to take on the huge challenge of cancer, making it easier to put in place a united and international approach, supporting researchers who can make a difference for patients in the future."

(Image credit: H R Ali, Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, University of Cambridge)

"Transatlantic scientific partnership to connect world researchers in quest to solve cancer’s toughest problems." Cancer Research UK and National Cancer Institute press release 08/27/2020. "Cancer Grant Challenge media kit" Cancer Research UK and National Cancer Institute media kit 08/27/2020.