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In the UK today 1000 people will be diagnosed with cancer. The earlier a cancer is caught the more treatment options are available. A core strategy within the NHS Long Term Plan is to diagnose 75% of cancers at an early stage by 2028. Primary care plays an essential role in meeting this target with the majority of patients diagnosed with cancer first presenting to their GP with symptoms.

Man in blue scrubs with black stethescope around his neck talks to a lady with a purple headscarf on.

We are delighted to join with our colleagues at the Oncology Clinical Trials Office (OCTO) in a new Cancer Research UK (CRUK) CTU collaboration to drive forward studies that will help us understand how best to prevent and detect cancer 

Our new CRUK CTU will focus on Precision Prevention and Early Detection and will provide infrastructure support to build our already existing collaborations such as the recently published study, SYMPLIFY, which indicated promising results for the blood sample based GalleriR Multi Cancer Early Detection Test. A major focus of our collaboration and the Early Detection strand theme will be the identification of effective diagnostic tests that can be used in a primary care setting to triage patients on to secondary care for confirmation investigations and treatment.

Both the Cancer theme and Primary Care CTU (PC-CTU) are incredibly excited about this opportunity to make a real impact on the future of cancer control and the huge benefits early detection may bring to patients.  

A key component of future success will be building on the strengths already developed by the Oxford PC-CTU in running large, national, with potential to be decentralised, trials by the successful delivery of PRINCIPLE and PANORAMIC. Additionally building on the Urgent Public Health portfolio NDPCHS delivered RAPTOR C-19, a prospective parallel diagnostic accuracy study evaluating rapid SARS-CoV-2 tests working with a range of commercial partners.

We will be able to repurpose the extensive research network already built up throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and the digital innovations that resulted from the need for new ways of working, to turn to further crucial health priorities that impact us all.  

Associate Professor, Brian D Nicholson, Early Detection Co-Lead and Cancer theme Lead said: 

“We are delighted to formally pull together the expertise of PC-CTU, OCTO, the CRUK Oxford Cancer Centre, and the departmental Cancer Theme. We will collectively work hard to develop robust evaluations of new diagnostics and novel uses of existing diagnostics. We are extremely grateful to CRUK for their support. 

Associate Professor, Ly-Mee Yu, PC-CTU Deputy Director and Early Detection Co-Lead added:

I am thrilled about the opportunity to be part of this collaboration and looking forward to contribute our expertise to deliver studies that will translate innovation into patient and public benefit.” 

Professor Chris Butler, PC-CTU Director said: 

“This important research program has great potential for world-wide reach and impact, and it could lead to transforming early diagnosis in the community. The synergies between our combined implementation science, cancer, early diagnosis, and primary care expertise will surely enable this unique collaboration to efficiently expert effect a sea- change in this exciting research field.”  

Professor Richard Hobbs, NDPCHS Head of Department added:

‘For most cancers, the most important factor for improved outcomes is an early diagnosis – you are more likely to survive longer and have more treatment options, and possibly options with fewer side effects. This specific research focus for this new trials unit which further cements our collaborations with the Oxford Department of Oncology and CRUK will help us expand this under-researched but critical area for patients and their families.’ 

Opinions expressed are those of the author/s and not of the University of Oxford. Readers' comments will be moderated - see our guidelines for further information.


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