How our research saves lives

Developing new treatments

It can take decades for research to go from an initial idea in the lab to a new treatment that can be used to save the life of somebody with cancer. The research we fund is the start of this journey, allowing scientists to pursue their creative and exciting new idea. Starting new ideas takes bravery. Your kindness and generosity means that scientists around the world are able to start new cancer cures. If we don't give research the chance to start, we may never have new lifesaving cancer treatments. Here we have selected some of the stories that show how your support in the past has led to new treatments saving lives today.

Drugging the "undruggable"

A research project we funded in 2013 allowed Dr Laura Soucek to develop a new treatment she was working on, proving that it was ready for clinical trials. The treatment, called Omomyc, works by attacking a protein in cancer cells called MYC and shutting down the cells ability to grow and divide. For decades, people had been saying this approach to treating cancer was impossible. Some even called MYC the "undruggable" target in cancer. Defying the sceptics, and beating the odds, Laura's perseverance paid off and clinical trials for Omomyc are now set to start in 2021.

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Life-saving drug that has treated over 30,000 people

Research we funded in the 1990s started the discovery of a brand new targeted cancer drug called olaparib. This drug has so far treated over 30,000 people around the world with breast and ovarian cancer, and is being tested in clinical trials for many other cancers.

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Finding a new use for a diabetes drug

One project we funded in 2001 helped Professor Dario Alessi at the University of Dundee uncover that the diabetes drug metformin could be used to prevent and even treat cancer. This research has sparked over 100 clinical trials worldwide to test metformin against cancer.

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New life-saving immunotherapy

Research we funded in 2008 helped Dr John Maher at King's College London develop a brand new type of immunotherapy. John's unique CAR T-cell therapy is currently in clinical trials for head and neck cancer where it is already saving lives.

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Donate today to start discovering new treatments for cancer

Pioneering laser therapy

In the 1980s and early 1990s, we funded several projects led by Professor Stephen Bown, which allowed him to propel a laser therapy called photodynamic therapy from the lab into the clinic. Photodynamic therapy is now available as a treatment option for patients with some types of cancer. And it can even lead to a cure for some people if used early enough.

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Helping to develop blood cancer treatments

In 2004, we funded a project led by Professor Mark Cragg at the University of Southampton to further our understanding of how drugs could be used to target and destroy cancer cells. His research uncovered important information that contributed to the journey of a targeted cancer drug, which is now available as a treatment option for people with blood cancer.

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