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Department of Oncology



The UK's first physical Early Cancer Institute was officially launched at the University of Cambridge on 21 September 2022.

The Early Cancer Institute, based on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus alongside academic, medical and pharmaceutical specialists, aims to help create a world where we can detect cancer early enough to cure it.

Director of the Early Cancer Institute, Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald said:

 “People have tended to shy away from researching early cancer, but unless we do this work we are not going to improve survival rates for the majority of our patients, because most patients are still diagnosed late. Outcomes can be completely transformed if the cancer is diagnosed early enough and we have the right treatments.”

Up to 120 scientists will be based at the Early Cancer Institute – from biologists and clinicians to engineers, physicists and social sciences – who will focus on cancers that are hard to treat and as such have very poor outcomes, including lung, pancreas, oesophagus and liver cancers, and acute myeloid leukaemia. Outcomes for these cancers have changed little over the past few years.

Professor Fitzgerald added: “Cambridge has a rich history of making huge strides in cancer research, from developing the technology that allows us to sequence the DNA of tumours through to pioneering new approaches to treatments, such as the use of monoclonal antibodies and PARP inhibitor drugs. We want to build on this legacy of discovery and innovation and apply it to early cancer.”

Further information about the Early Cancer Institute and the research that will be undertaken, can be found on the institute's website.