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Cancer leaders pen ‘letter to the world’ calling for urgent investment

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A coalition of renowned voices in the cancer research community has joined forces with Cancer Research UK to call on high value donors and philanthropists to help tackle the disease.

In their ‘letter to the world’ the signatories, icluding three Nobel Prize winners, say that cancer is a ‘defining health issue of our time’ that requires a united and collective worldwide response on a par with Covid-19.

The experts argue that we’re at a ‘tipping point’ that could transform how we understand and treat cancer – but more support for life-saving research is required to beat the disease.

The letter is published as Cancer Research UK launches its More Research, Less Cancer campaign – the largest ever philanthropic campaign by a UK charity, which aims to raise £400m.

The charity has warned that the number of global cancer cases are predicted to increase by around 50 per cent by 2040.

Domestically, 110,000 deaths could be avoided over the next two decades, if UK cancer mortality rates are reduced by 15 per cent by 2040, CRUK revealed.**

Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK, Michelle Mitchell OBE said: “We stand on the brink of discoveries that will transform how we understand and treat cancer.

“Discoveries like new blood tests that detect cancer at an earlier stage, and algorithms that predict someone’s cancer risk and stop it from developing in the first place.

“These discoveries, that the research and scientific community are on the cusp of, have the potential to save and improve countless lives. But investment is needed.”

The money raised by the campaign will focus on work at the Francis Crick Institute, support the global cancer research initiative Cancer Grand Challenges, support scientists at every stage of their careers and help deliver more innovation that translates into effective therapies and diagnostics for patients.

Despite analysis by the Beacon Collaborative showing that generosity among wealthy people is increasing, a recent report by think-tank Onward revealed that the wealthiest 10 per cent of households now donate half as much as a proportion of their income as those in the poorest 10 per cent, suggesting they could do much more to support charitable causes worldwide.

A recent report by Cancer Research UK said that urgent action was required to address a more than £1 billion funding gap for research into cancer over the next decade.

The report said that excluding research funded by industry, charities fund 62 per cent of cancer research, compared to government’s 38 per cent.

Chair of Cancer Research UK, Lord Simon Stevens said:  “Philanthropy powers progress, enabling our researchers to take risks, challenge, and innovate.

“We’re in a golden age of scientific progress, with the potential to improve and save millions more lives.

“Few organisations in the world can rival Cancer Research UK’s global impact on cancer.

“We have the ideas and the expertise – now we need the financial firepower to seize these amazing opportunities and capitalise on our groundbreaking international partnerships.”

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