What makes us different from other cancer charities?

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Author:Helen Rippon

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Worldwide Cancer Research Chief Executive with over seventeen years experience in cancer research.

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28th June 2021

There are hundreds of cancer charities in the UK, so what is it that makes Worldwide Cancer Research different? Why should you choose to support us? Our Chief Executive Dr Helen Rippon explains what it means for us to be the only UK charity focused solely on funding discovery research, anywhere in the world.

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Discovery research (also called basic or fundamental research) is the first step in the research journey.

In practical terms, this means our scientists are seeking to discover something entirely new about the very nature of cancer.

They study cancer cells in detail, pulling them apart and finding out how they work. The knowledge gained through this research is the foundation for all future tests and treatments for cancer.

Other cancer charities tend to focus their efforts on different stages of the research journey – translational and clinical.

Translational research is turning the knowledge made at the discovery stage into something practical, such as a new drug. Clinical research involves taking that new drug into trials involving people.

Charities may fund all stages of the journey or just focus on one, but over time there has been a shift towards translational and clinical research because it is seen as being less risky.

In fact, new research shows that funding for discovery research has declined by around 25% since 2006. 

That's a huge drop in funding for a type of research that plays a vital part in the research journey — we need to start with new ideas in the lab in order to end up with new cures for cancer. It's vital that funding is maintained in this area to provide hope for the future for the millions of people who are affected by cancer.

So that’s why we are flying the flag for discovery research and that’s what makes us different. We only fund this type of research because we understand its importance for starting new cancer cures.

If we don’t continue to invest in scientists at this stage, we simply wouldn’t be able to move research on to the translational or clinical stages, and ultimately get new tests or treatments for cancer in the hospitals where they can save lives.

Want to help us start new cures for cancer? Become a Curestarter and help us fund pioneering cancer research.

Our research projects wouldn't be possible without the funds we receive from people like you. Just £24 can pay for an hour of research and help us start new cures for the future.


Further reading

Expert views

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There are hundreds of cancer charities in the UK and many of them fund research. So, what is it that makes Worldwide Cancer Research different?

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New research shows that funding for discovery research has declined by around 25% since 2006.

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