Cancer Research UK is funding three major new international research initiatives on the microbiome, chronic inflammation and why some cancers are specific to certain tissues and not others.
Multidisciplinary teams of scientists from across North America, the UK and Europe, and Israel will come together to explore these research challenges, which are currently some of the biggest in cancer research.
Collectively, the teams have been awarded almost £60 million.
These five-year research programmes will investigate how billions of microorganisms living in our bodies, called the microbiome, could be manipulated to treat bowel cancer; find new ways to tackle cancers linked to chronic inflammation; and develop a deeper understanding of why cancers develop in some tissues but not in others.
These initiatives represent the bold approach Cancer Research UK is taking in bringing the very best researchers from around the globe together to unite their talent, pool resources and crack some of the biggest questions in cancer research.
And for the first time, several major US institutions will be leading these projects as part of the Grand Challenge competition.
They are the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston; Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University, Boston; and the University of California, San Francisco.
Dr Iain Foulkes, Cancer Research UK’s Executive Director of Research and Innovation, said: “Individually, these research teams are among the best in the world in their respective fields. By bringing them together across borders, Grand Challenge is enabling these teams to think bigger and establish new and exciting collaborations.
“The scale of the funding reflects the opportunity we see in harnessing their ability to understand and tackle cancer.”