Health

Charity offers £100m for new ways to beat cancer

cancer cells Image copyright STEVE GSCHMEISSNER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

A cancer charity is offering £100m in research money for international scientists to come up with new approaches to beating cancer.

Cancer Research UK has set out seven challenges covering what it says are the most important unanswered questions in cancer research.

The first winning grant will be announced next autumn.

World Health Organization figures show there were about 14m new cases and 8.2m cancer related deaths in 2012.

The number of new cases is expected to rise by about 70% globally over the next two decades, with more than 60% of them occurring in Africa, Asia and Central and South America.

Smoking is the most important risk factor for cancer, causing around one-fifth of global cancer deaths.

Dr Rick Klausner, chairman of the Grand Challenge board and former director of the US National Cancer Institute, said: "This is research on a scale never before attempted in cancer - it's big, it's bold, and I'm very excited to be part of this journey."

'Improving odds'

The first successful proposal will be awarded £20m to carry out five or more years of research.

Cancer Research UK said it planned to make at least five more Grand Challenge awards over the next five years "to stimulate fresh thinking and investment in multiple areas of cancer research".

Margaret Grayson, a patient adviser on the Grand Challenge panel, said: "I was diagnosed with breast cancer alongside six other women I grew to be close friends with, and in the first five years I've been to all of their funerals.

"So I'm determined to see the odds improve for future cancer patients and I see the Grand Challenge as the way Cancer Research UK is going to do this."

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