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Cancer Research UK is a cancer research and awareness charity in the United Kingdom,[1] formed on 4 February 2002 by the merger of The Cancer Research Campaign and the Imperial Cancer Research Fund.[2] Its aim is to reduce the number of deaths from cancer. As the world's largest independent cancer research charity[3][4] it conducts research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease. Research activities are carried out in institutes, universities and hospitals across the UK, both by the charity's own employees and by its grant-funded researchers. It also provides information about cancer and runs campaigns aimed at raising awareness of the disease and influencing public policy.[5][6][7]

Cancer Research UK's work is almost entirely funded by the public. It raises money through donations, legacies, community fundraising, events, retail and corporate partnerships. Over 40,000 people are regular volunteers.[1]

On 18 July 2012 it was announced that Cancer Research UK was to receive its largest ever single donation of £10 million from an anonymous donor. The money will go towards the £100 million funding needed for the Francis Crick Institute in London, the largest biomedical research building in Europe.[8]


The Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) was founded in 1902 as the Cancer Research Fund, changing its name to the Imperial Cancer Research Fund two years later. The charity grew over the next twenty years to become one of the world's leading cancer research charities.[9] Its flagship laboratories formerly at Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, and Clare Hall, Hertfordshire, and known as the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute, are now part of the Francis Crick Institute.[3]

The British Empire Cancer Campaign (BECC) was founded in 1923, and initially drew a hostile response from ICRF and the Medical Research Council, who considered it a rival.[9][10] "The Campaign", as it was colloquially known, became a very successful and powerful grant-giving body. In 1970, the charity was renamed The Cancer Research Campaign (CRC).[10]

In 2002 the two charities agreed to merge to form Cancer Research UK, the largest independent research organisation in the world dedicated to fighting cancer (the largest, the National Cancer Institute, is funded by the US Government).[11][12] At the time of the merger, the ICRF had an annual income of £124m, while the CRC had an income of £101m.[11]


File:Cmglee Cambridge Cancer Research.jpg

Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute


In the financial year 2014/15 the charity spent £422.67 million on cancer research projects (around 67% of its total income for that year). The bulk of the remaining costs were spent on trading and fundraising costs with a small amount also spent on information services, campaigning, advocacy, administration and other activities or was held in reserve.[1] The charity funds the work of over 4,000 researchers, doctors and nurses throughout the UK, supports over 200 clinical trials and studies cancer and cancer risk in over a million people in the UK.[13] Around 40% of the charity's research expenditure goes on basic laboratory research relevant to all types of cancer into the molecular basis of cancer. The research is intended to improve understanding of how cancer develops and spreads and thus provide a foundation for other research.[14] The rest of its funding is used to support research into over 100 specific cancer types, focusing on key areas such as drug discovery and development; prevention, early detection and imaging; surgery and radiotherapy; and cancers where survival rates are still low, such as oesophageal, lung and pancreatic cancers.[15]

The prostate cancer drug abiraterone was discovered in the Cancer Research UK Centre for Cancer Therapeutics at the Institute of Cancer Research in London.[16] In 2015 one of three recipients of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, for mechanistic studies of DNA repair, was Professor Tomas Lindahl,[17][18] who joined Cancer Research UK as a researcher in 1981, and from 1986 was the first Director of their Clare Hall research institute in Hertfordshire, since 2015 part of the Francis Crick Institute. He brings the total of Nobel Prizes awarded to CRUK researchers to seven.[19]

In addition to funding individual researchers and projects, CRUK has several research institutes:[20]

  • The Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute, which sits within the University of Glasgow and has close ties to the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre.
  • The Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, which sits within the University of Cambridge close to Addenbrooke's Hospital on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.
  • The Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, formerly the Paterson Institute for Cancer Research, which sits within the University of Manchester and has close ties to the Christie Hospital.[21] It is a partner in the Manchester Cancer Research Centre, which was formed in 2006 by the University of Manchester, Cancer Research UK, and the Christie NHS Foundation Trust.[22]

It is a partner in:

  • The Francis Crick Institute, with the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust
  • The Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology, with the Medical Research Council
  • The Gurdon Institute, with the Wellcome Trust

Information services[]

The charity provides information to the general public, the scientific community and healthcare professionals. Through CancerHelp UK, a website written in Plain English for anyone affected by cancer, it provides information on cancer and cancer care, and a unique clinical trials database.[2] A specialist team of cancer information nurses provides a confidential telephone service, the Cancer Chat forum provides a place for users to talk to others affected by cancer, and mobile cancer awareness units deliver health information to locations where cancer incidence and mortality are higher than average. It provides statistical information to healthcare professionals via the CancerStats section It also provides publications for the public to order and download at

Cancer Research UK also publishes a twice-monthly professional medical journal, the British Journal of Cancer.

Influencing public policy[]

The charity works with the UK governments to inform and improve cancer services. It worked to bring about the smoking ban in England and continues to campaign for further action on smoking.[23] The charity lobbies for better screening programmes and advises on access to new cancer medicines, amongst other issues.



Cancer Research UK charity shop in Bristol

Fundraisers for CRUK include Race for Life and Stand Up to Cancer UK.


The charity works in partnership with other organisations. These include the UK Department of Health, the Wellcome Trust, the National Health Service, NICE, and the National Cancer Intelligence Network. It is one of the partners in the National Cancer Research Institute which also includes the Medical Research Council (UK) and Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.[24] It is also a major partner in the Francis Crick Institute.[25]


In June 2011 Cancer Research UK was one of several health charities (along with the British Heart Foundation, the Alzheimer's Society and Parkinson's UK) targeted by the animal rights organisation Animal Aid in a publicity campaign involving a series of advertisements in British newspapers urging members of the public to stop giving donations to organizations that fund medical research involving animal experiments.[26][27]

See also[]

  • European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC)
  • Childhood Cancer Parents Alliance
  • London Research Institute


Template:Research help

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named EW charity|1089464
  2. 2.0 2.1 Gaze, Mark N.; Wilson, Isobel M. (15 July 2002). Handbook of Community Cancer Care. Cambridge University Press. p. 272. ISBN 978-1-84110-001-2. Retrieved 31 January 2011.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Cancer charity mega-merger". BBC News. 11 December 2001.
  4. "The Top 500 Charities". Archived from the original on March 2, 2009. Retrieved 10 July 2015. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  5. "Annual Report and Accounts" (PDF). 2001-12-11. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 28, 2012. Retrieved 2011-04-04. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  6. [1] Report on 2008/9 research activities Archived July 25, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  7. [2] Annual Review 2010/11 Archived May 4, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  8. "Cancer Research UK is handed £10m". Cambridge News. 18 July 1012. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  9. 9.0 9.1 Austoker, Joan. A history of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, 1902-1986. Oxford University Press, 1988.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Cancer Research Campaign formerly British Empire Cancer Campaign, 1923-1981. Wellcome Library Archive. Retrieved 1 February 2011
  11. 11.0 11.1 World's biggest cancer charity formed, The Guardian, 4 February 2002.
  12. "Cancer Research UK". Nat. Cell Biol. 4 (3): E45. March 2002. doi:10.1038/ncb0302-e45. PMID 11875441.
  13. "Cancer Research UK: What we do" (PDF). 2011-03-31. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 11, 2014. Retrieved 2011-04-04. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  14. "Cancer Research UK: Our strategy 2009-2014". Retrieved 2011-04-04.
  15. Annual report and accounts | Cancer Research UK
  16. Scowcroft H (21 September 2011). "Where did abiraterone come from?". Science Update blog. Cancer Research UK. Retrieved 2011-09-28.
  17. Broad, William J. (2015-10-07). "Nobel Prize in Chemistry Awarded to Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar for DNA Studies". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-10-07.
  18. Staff (7 October 2015). "THE NOBEL PRIZE IN CHEMISTRY 2015 - DNA repair – providing chemical stability for life" (PDF). Nobel Prize. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
  19. "4 ways that Tomas Lindahl’s Nobel Prize for Chemistry revolutionised cancer research", by Emma Smith, CRUK Science blog, October 7, 2015
  21. "Welcome to the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute". University of Manchester. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  22. "Reaarch Beacons: Cancer". University of Manchester. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  23. "Chief medic considered quitting". BBC News. 24 November 2005. Retrieved 1 February 2011.
  24. Rafi, Imran (4 January 2006). An Introduction to the Use of Anticancer Drugs. Elsevier Health Sciences. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-7506-8830-7. Retrieved 31 January 2011.
  25. "Project Press Release". UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation web site. 21 June 2010. Archived from the original on June 24, 2010. Retrieved 11 August 2010. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  26. Wright, Oliver (21 June 2011). "Animal rights group declares war on leading health charities". London: The Independent. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
  27. "Charities are attacked over experiments". The Scotsman. Edinburgh. 20 June 2011.

External links[]

Template:Francis Crick Institute