Cancer Research UK unveils ambitious new strategy 

Cancer Research UK (CRUK) has pledged to increase the amount of prevention research it conducts, as part of its new strategy.

The charity, which is one of the largest in the UK, plans to spend £1.5bn on research over the next five years. According to its latest annual accounts, CRUK spent £388m on cancer research in the last financial year.

The strategy, named Making Discoveries, Driving Progress, Bringing Hope, involves a prevention research strategy that will use biological insight to find new ways to prevent cancer.

Michelle Mitchell, CEO of CRUK, said: “Our new prevention research strategy sets out an ambitious agenda focused on high impact areas, including tobacco, obesity, infection and inflammation, and the role of ageing.

We want to attract new researchers to bring in new ideas and forge collaborations across disciplines so that we can make greater progress in preventing cancer.”

Increase engagement

CRUK’s new strategy aims to inspire more people to engage with the charity. While cancer is consistently the British public’s top charity cause, “we must build even greater momentum and urgency around our cause, and engage people in much deeper, more meaningful ways”, CRUK said.

To do this, the charity wants to create seamless online and offline interactions that streamline user experiences. The charity hopes to inspire millions to join its mission by increasing the diversity of the people who volunteer with the charity, involving people affected by cancer in its work and building long-term relationships with donors.

“We need to engage with as many people as we can, in the most powerful, effective and personal way possible. Beating it will take every one of us. Whether that’s inspiring people to sign up to our events and fundraise for us, or by working in collaboration with global philanthropists and partners, we will need to work together and build strong foundations to help us make progress and adapt to changes in the years ahead,” Mitchell said.

Build more partnerships

Another key objective is partnering with separate organisations to create a bigger impact. This will include building upon its partnership with US National Cancer Institute and creating new partnerships with charities with a common purpose.

Not purely cancer charities, either, but also organisations that work on common risk factors for cancer (e.g. obesity).

CRUK has also pledged to partner with more philanthropists around the world to build new approaches to cancer research. Currently, the charity works with more than 120 partners and philanthropists.

Sustain progress

The research CRUK has already conducted must be sustained in order for it to make further progress, according to the charity. It plans to achieve this by planning to spend at least £1.5bn on cancer research in the next five years.

CRUK launched its equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) strategy in 2020 and aims to continue acting upon it.

The charity has also pledged to improve its environmental sustainability and reduce its carbon footprint. CRUK wants to better understand the links between cancer and climate, and work to reduce cancer inequalities in the country.

Make life-changing discoveries

The objectives for CRUK’s new strategy are broken up into five key objectives: discover, translate, engage, partner and sustain.

Mitchell said: “The charity’s new strategy puts discovery at the heart of everything it does, laying the groundwork for progress in prevention, diagnosis and treatment. By making discoveries about cancer, it believes it will unlock new and better ways to beat it.”

To achieve this, CRUK plans to accelerate priority areas. Some of these areas involve identifying why certain demographic groups are more susceptible to cancer than others. As well as this, CRUK will continue to prioritise children and young people’s cancer, where outcomes are the poorest, it said.

Mitchell continued: “Discoveries will also help ensure treatments are kinder, less toxic and more targeted, meaning the impact of cancer on people’s day to day lives is reduced as much as possible.”

Another key objective of the new strategy is translation; by translating scientific discoveries into new prevention measures the charity can create improved outcomes for people with cancer, CRUK believes.

The charity wants to see three in four people in the UK surviving cancer for 10 years or more by 2034.