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Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK
Founded 4 February 2002 (2002-02-04)
Type Charitable organisation
Registration no. England and Wales: 1089464 Scotland: SC041666 Isle of Man: 1103
Focus Cancer research, Health policy
  • Angel Building, 407 St John Street, London, EC1V 4AD
Area served
United Kingdom
Key people
Harpal Kumar (CEO), Peter Johnson (Chief Clinician), Nic Jones (Chief Scientist)
£537 million (2013)[1]
3,985 (2011)[2]
40,000 (2011)[2]
Slogan We will beat cancer sooner
Website .org.cancerresearchukwww
Formerly called
Imperial Cancer Research Fund, The Cancer Research Campaign

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.[3] Its aim is to reduce the number of deaths from cancer. As the world's largest independent cancer research charity[4][5] 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.[6][7][8]

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.[2]

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.[9]


  • History 1
  • Activities 2
    • Research 2.1
    • Information services 2.2
    • Influencing public policy 2.3
    • Fundraising 2.4
    • Partnerships 2.5
  • Criticism 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


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.[10] Its flagship laboratories at Lincoln's Inn Fields and Clare Hall are now known as the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute.[4]

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.[10][11] "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).[11]

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).[12][13] At the time of the merger, the ICRF had an annual income of £124m, while the CRC had an income of £101m.[12]


Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute


In the financial year 2010/11 the charity spent £332 million on cancer research projects (around 69% 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 and advocacy, administration, on other activities, or held in reserve.[2] 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.[14] 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.[15] 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.[16]

The prostate cancer drug abiraterone was discovered in the Cancer Research UK Centre for Cancer Therapeutics at the Institute of Cancer Research in London.[17] In 2015 one of three recipients of the the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, for mechanistic studies of DNA repair, was Professor Tomas Lindahl,[18][19] 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.[20]

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.[3] 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.[21] The charity lobbies for better screening programmes and advises on access to new cancer medicines, amongst other issues.


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


Cancer Research UK charity shop in Bristol

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.[22] It is also a major partner in the Francis Crick Institute.[23]


In June 2011 Cancer Research UK was one of several health charities (along with the

  • Cancer Research UK
  • Cancer Research UK, Registered Charity no. 1089464 at the Charity Commission

External links

  1. ^ a b Cancer Research UK, Registered Charity no. 1089464 at the Charity Commission
  2. ^ a b c d [4], Cancer Research UK, published 27 July 2011
  3. ^ a b Gaze, Mark N.; Wilson, Isobel M. (15 July 2002). Handbook of Community Cancer Care. Cambridge University Press. p. 272.  
  4. ^ a b "Cancer charity mega-merger". BBC News. 11 December 2001. 
  5. ^ "The Top 500 Charities". Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  6. ^ "Annual Report and Accounts" (PDF). 2001-12-11. Retrieved 2011-04-04. 
  7. ^ [5] Report on 2008/9 research activities
  8. ^ [6] Annual Review 2010/11
  9. ^ "Cancer Research UK is handed £10m". Cambridge News. 18 July 1012. 
  10. ^ a b Austoker, Joan. A history of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, 1902-1986. Oxford University Press, 1988.
  11. ^ a b Cancer Research Campaign formerly British Empire Cancer Campaign, 1923-1981. Wellcome Library Archive. Retrieved 1 February 2011
  12. ^ a b World's biggest cancer charity formed, The Guardian, 4 February 2002.
  13. ^ "Cancer Research UK". Nat. Cell Biol. 4 (3): E45. March 2002.  
  14. ^ "Cancer Research UK: What we do" (PDF). 2011-03-31. Retrieved 2011-04-04. 
  15. ^ "Cancer Research UK: Our strategy 2009-2014". Retrieved 2011-04-04. 
  16. ^ Annual report and accounts | Cancer Research UK
  17. ^ Scowcroft H (21 September 2011). "Where did abiraterone come from?". Science Update blog. Cancer Research UK. Retrieved 2011-09-28. 
  18. ^ 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.  
  19. ^ Staff (7 October 2015). "THE NOBEL PRIZE IN CHEMISTRY 2015 - DNA repair – providing chemical stability for life" ( 
  20. ^ "4 ways that Tomas Lindahl’s Nobel Prize for Chemistry revolutionised cancer research", by Emma Smith, CRUK Science blog, October 7, 2015
  21. ^ "Chief medic considered quitting". BBC News. 24 November 2005. Retrieved 1 February 2011. 
  22. ^ Rafi, Imran (4 January 2006). An Introduction to the Use of Anticancer Drugs. Elsevier Health Sciences. p. 12.  
  23. ^ "Project Press Release". UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation web site. 21 June 2010. Retrieved 11 August 2010. 
  24. ^ Wright, Oliver (21 June 2011). "Animal rights group declares war on leading health charities". London: The Independent. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  25. ^ "Charities are attacked over experiments". The Scotsman (Edinburgh). 20 June 2011. 


See also


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