Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK is a cancer awareness and research charity serving the UK and Isle of Man. Although it has become the largest independent research charity focused on cancer in the world, this guise was only established in 2002 after the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and The Cancer Research Campaign merged together with the aim of reducing the amount of deaths caused by cancer.


The ICRF or Imperial Cancer Research Fund was formed in 1902 with the original name of Cancer Research Fund. The name changed in 1904 to the ICRF and over the following 20 years it grew to become one of the leading charities for cancer research in the world. The charity’s flagship laboratories that were once at Clare Hall in Hertfordshire and Lincoln’s Inn Fields in London now form part of the Francis Crick Institute.

In 1923, the BECC or British Empire Cancer Campaign was setup to criticism and a decidedly hostile reception from the Medical Research Council and ICRF, because they considered it to be a competitor. That charity, which became known by the shorthand name of ‘The Campaign’ established itself as a powerful and successful grant-giving body and in 1970 changed its name to the CRC or Cancer Research Campaign.

Fast forward to 2002 and it was then that both charities, the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and the Cancer Research Campaign merged to form what is now known as Cancer Research UK. Although the largest research organisation in the world that has the goal of fighting cancer is the National Cancer Institute, this receives funding from the US Government. Which is why we can rightly refer to Cancer Research UK as the biggest ‘independent’ cancer research organisation in the world.

Their Research

Over the last four decades, researchers working for the charity have made great inroads in fighting cancer, and they have managed to double the number of survivors. They are currently the only organisation to fund and conduct research into all 200 recognised forms of cancers.

  • Bladder cancer
  • Bowel cancer
  • Brain and nerve cell tumours
  • Breast cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Children’s and young people’s cancers
  • Kidney cancer
  • Leukaemia
  • Lung cancer
  • Lymphoma
  • Myeloma
  • Oesophageal cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Rare cancers
  • Skin cancer
  • Womb cancer

Their Strategy for Beating Cancer Sooner

The vision of Cancer Research UK has always been to beat cancer sooner. The evidence suggests that things are moving in the right direction. Whereas in the 1970s, less than 1/4 of people suffering from cancer survived, in the 40 years that has passed, that survival rate has doubled, with around half of individuals diagnosed with cancer surviving.

The ambition of the charity is to speed things up even more and see around 3/4 of all cancer sufferers surviving. They aim to make this happen during the next two decades.

The strategy they have in place will give them the foundations they need to tackle the challenges they need to achieve their goals.

Taking on all Cancers

Cancer Research UK are determined to make the survival rate of cancer sufferers in the UK one of the best throughout the world. Their work focuses on four crucial areas, helping to prevent the disease, successfully diagnose it sooner, develop new and more effective treatments and enhance the existing treatments by tailoring them and increasing their efficiency. They aim to continue providing support research into all the different kinds of cancer and age groups. They want to continue to focus their efforts also in the understanding of cancer’s biology to use that valuable information to save even more lives.

Efforts are increased into the research for earlier diagnosis alongside the harder-to-treat and beat cancers such as brain tumours, oesophageal, pancreatic and lung cancers. Cancer Research UK is also funding the development of new and improved cancer drugs, techniques using radiotherapy, surgery and tests. Personalisation of preventing, screening and treating cancer so that patients can experience benefits much sooner than previously possibly.

Additional £50m Investments

Further to this to help the acceleration of their progress, they want to invest in extra £50m every year into various funding schemes to assist their research teams. All with the aim of encouraging greater collaboration and further innovation, and supporting research for helping to tackle some of the biggest challenges from a scientific point of view related to researching cancer.

As smoking is still the biggest cause of cancer that can be easily prevented, Cancer Research UK are also fully committed to working towards a time when no-one smokes, with a focus on providing protection for children and helping people kick their habits.

They will continue to fight for the best cancer services to be available to people up and down the country, giving people a better chance at survival.