Cancer Research UK, one of the world’s largest charities focused on improving cancer treatments, has launched a new research network focused on advanced radiotherapy techniques, immunotherapies and AI.
The network, Cancer Research UK RadNet, will be backed by £56 million (more than $72 million) in funding over the next five years. It represents the charity's largest single investment in radiotherapy research.
“Radiotherapy is a cornerstone of cancer medicine, with around three in 10 patients receiving it as part of their primary treatment,” Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said in a prepared statement. “The launch of our network marks a new era of radiotherapy research in the UK. Scientists will combine advances in our understanding of cancer biology with cutting-edge technology to make this treatment more precise and effective than ever before.”
“I’ve seen first-hand how successful radiotherapy can be for patients that I treat, but it’s been frustrating to see the UK lagging behind other countries when it comes to prioritizing research into this vital treatment,” Dr. Adrian Crellin, a Cancer Research UK trustee, said in the same statement. “Cancer Research UK’s investment will overhaul radiotherapy research in the UK to bring the next generation of treatments to patients sooner.”
According to the statement, some of the research network’s primary goals include “optimizing and personalizing radiotherapy” for patients and reducing the long-term side effects of radiotherapy. FLASH radiotherapy, a technique that involves high-dose radiation delivered in bursts that last just “a fraction of a second,” is another key part of the charity’s five-year plan.