Developing radical new strategies and technologies to detect cancer at its earliest stage is the bold ambition of a new trans-atlantic research alliance—the International Alliance for Cancer Early Detection (ACED) -- announced on October 21, 2019 by Cancer Research UK and partners, and to be funded by over £55 million (~$71 million) over the next five years. Early detection is essential to help more people beat cancer – a patient’s chance of surviving his or her disease improves dramatically when cancer is found and treated earlier. Understanding the biology of early cancers and pre-cancerous states will allow doctors to find accurate ways to spot the disease earlier and, where necessary, treat it effectively. It could even enable “precision prevention” – where the disease could be stopped from ever occurring in the first place. UK statistics highlight the major improvements in survival that could be achieved. 5-year survival for six different types of cancer is more than three times higher if the disease is diagnosed at stage one, when the tumor tends to be small and remains localized, compared with survival when diagnosed at stage four, when the cancer tends to be larger and has started to invade surrounding tissue and other organs. Advances in early-detection technologies will help decrease late-stage diagnosis and increase the proportion of people diagnosed at an early and treatable stage, so a future for more patients can be secured. Cancer Research UK is setting out a bold ambition to jump-start this under-explored field of research in a collaboration with teams of scientists from across the UK and the US.
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