David Cameron (right) and Harpal Kumar (front) at our Cambridge Research Institute
Yesterday morning our Chief Executive Dr Harpal Kumar was delighted to welcome Prime Minister David Cameron to the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute. This was a great opportunity to showcase some of our groundbreaking research. And more importantly, during the visit the PM outlined his plan to introduce a new genetics initiative that’ll help develop better treatments.
The Government will set aside £100m for the project in England, which aims to give doctors a better understanding of patients’ genetic make-up. The plans could see up to 100,000 patients have their genomes sequenced in the next three to five years and the information could help develop new cancer treatments. It was great to hear why the PM felt this initiative was vital:
“It is crucial that we continue to push the boundaries and this new plan will mean we are the first country in the world to use DNA codes in the mainstream of the health service.
“By unlocking the power of DNA data, the NHS will lead the global race for better tests, better drugs and above all better care. We are turning an important scientific breakthrough into a potentially life-saving reality for NHS patients across the country.”
We agree and are pleased with the announcement, as we’ve been working hard – with many others – to develop new treatments, and to ensure the NHS can effectively deliver a more personalised cancer treatment service. In-depth genetic information about each cancer patient will be a big part of such tailored care.
But, it’s important to highlight that it will still be some time before everyone with the disease will be able to have treatment based on the genetic make-up of their cancer.
Is Chancellor George Osborne's budget good for charities?
As the dust settles on a weekend of protest against the coalition government’s economic policies, it’s time to reflect on Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget – specifically, what it means for medical research in the UK, and for charities in general.
There were announcements in two major areas of the budget that were of direct relevance to our work – both in how we raise money and how we then use that money to fund research.
But are the announcements likely to achieve what they promise?
We want medical research kept high on the agenda
The great and the good of the medical research community descended on Parliament on Monday night, to discuss the importance of clinical research in the NHS.
Our Executive Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Aisling Burnand, presented our take on things, and the Health Minister Earl Howe was on hand to outline the Governments vision.
The event was organised by the All Party Parliamentary Group on medical research, so representatives from all political parties were present.
So what were the issues that kept MPs and Lords talking late into the night?
Researchers say they're lost in a maze of bureaucracy
This week the Academy of Medical Sciences published a landmark review of how health research is regulated and governed in the UK.
The report, eagerly anticipated by researchers, medical research charities, the pharmaceutical industry and Government, provides – for the first time ever – an overview of the current regulation and governance of health research.
It also puts forward recommendations to overhaul processes and provide an environment in the UK that will enable more health research to happen, whilst continuing to protect patients.
As we await the Government response to this report, we thought we’d outline what the review recommends, and what we think about it.
We want the next government to protect the UK's research base
Cancer Research UK’s ‘Commit to Beat Cancer’ campaign calls on parliamentary candidates to pledge to keep cancer high on the political agenda. Over the next few weeks we will be exploring some of the issues behind these calls.
In this instalment Emma Greenwood, policy researcher at Cancer Research UK, explains why all parties should support the UK’s world-class science base.
The UK leads the world in medical research – partly because so much of its medical research is funded by its charities. For example, members of the Association of Medical Research Charities spent £935 million on research in 2008/09.
At Cancer Research UK our research is entirely funded by the public’s generosity, demonstrating the UK’s heartfelt commitment to beating cancer. In 2008/09, we were able to spend £355 million of your donations on research, which supported the work of over 4,500 scientists, doctors and nurses – who are all trying to find better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat the disease.
But it’s vital that the country remains at the forefront of medical research. And this is where Government support is crucial.
Here are three key ways in which we are calling on the next Government to protect the UK’s position as a world leader…