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Scientific partnership between UK and France signed to tackle challenges in cancer

A major new international €10m (£8.6m) scientific partnership between the UK and France has been announced today, which will drive world-class, global cancer research.

Cancer Research UK and France’s Institut National Du Cancer (INCa) have announced a partnership to help fund world-class researchers to take on cancer’s toughest challenges through the global Cancer Grand Challenges initiative.

Cancer Grand Challenges was founded in 2020 by two of the largest funders of cancer research in the world – Cancer Research UK and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the US.

The ambition is to build a scientifically elite, interdisciplinary community who can fill in some of our biggest knowledge gaps in cancer and drive the progress we urgently need.

INCa’s participation in Cancer Grand Challenges will further expand the international reach of the initiative, bringing on board France’s foremost cancer research institute to take on cancer’s biggest challenges and deliver transformational research. INCa, one of Cancer Research UK’s key partners, is the first to pledge funds to support multiple teams in a single round of Cancer Grand Challenges, alongside the initiative’s original founding partners.

INCa’s €10m (£8.6m) investment will help to fund the next round of Cancer Grand Challenges teams. There are currently 12 shortlisted teams each competing for the chance to secure up to £20m for their global research projects in the latest round of challenges. Winning teams will be announced to the world in March 2024.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death around the world, claiming almost 10 million lives a year1, accounting for 1 in 5 deaths worldwide2. While research into cancer has made enormous strides forward, with around half of patients now surviving the disease for more than 10 years, there are fundamental challenges that stand in the way of vital progress.

Cancer Grand Challenges brings together diverse international organisations, collaborators and research leaders who share its mission. These include the Scientific Foundation of the Spanish Association Against Cancer, the Dutch Cancer Society, and The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research. To date, more than £210m has been invested in the Cancer Grand Challenges initiative, reflecting a shared commitment to supporting innovative, cross-disciplinary efforts to advance cancer research.

Director of Cancer Grand Challenges at Cancer Research UK, David Scott, said: “With funding partners from the UK, USA, Spain, the Netherlands and now France, Cancer Grand Challenges is growing, ever steadily into a global leader in scientific collaboration and vital cancer research.

“INCa’s participation in Cancer Grand Challenges brings an exciting new opportunity for us to accelerate scientific discoveries and innovation on a scale which could not be achieved by the actions of one individual country or research institution alone.

“Through the support of INCa and Cancer Research UK’s other global partners, our international teams will be given the freedom to think differently, act creatively and take on some of the toughest challenges in cancer.”

Professor Norbert Ifrah, CEO and Thierry Breton, Director General of the French National Cancer Institute, said: “Cancers with a poor prognosis are a major public health challenge which we need to address with the kind of breakthrough science that Cancer Grand Challenges supports through the mobilisation of world-class investigators and teams.

“We’ve seen science reach new frontiers through comparable initiatives in the world of physics, and cancer research is now on the verge of experiencing a similar evolution.

“INCa is fully committed to international scientific collaborations in cancer research, as part of our 10-year cancer control strategy. This major partnership between INCa and Cancer Research UK strengthens the Institute’s global actions in the fight against cancer.

“Separately, in May this year, we also joined the G7 Cancer initiative alongside 6 of the most advanced international organisations who are fighting the disease.”

References

1 Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Global Burden of Disease study. 2019 data. Available from https://vizhub.healthdata.org/gbd-compare/

2 International Agency for Research on Cancer. Cancer Today. 2020 data. Available from https://gco.iarc.fr/today/data/factsheets/cancers/39-All-cancers-fact-sheet.pdf

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Emma Cooper
Emma Cooper
Emma is Content Manager at Pf Media.

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