Research to improve the early detection of cancers in GP surgeries will be transformed with a £5m funding award from Cancer Research UK. The Catalyst Award, which aims to help researchers deliver trailblazing progress in their field with long-lasting results, has gone to the Cambridge-led CanTest project.
The CanTest team, led by Dr Fiona Walter at the Primary Care Unit, will work with researchers in three UK sites and across the globe on a five year project that will help GPs to detect cancers in a primary care setting, enabling patients to benefit from innovative approaches and new technologies and reducing the burden of referrals.
This research will prioritise ‘difficult-to-diagnose’ cancers, which are also associated with poorer survival outcomes, and will look at both existing and novel technologies.
GPs sometimes have to wait weeks for results before they can make any decisions for their patients. We’re trying to reduce this time by assessing ways that GPs could carry out the tests by themselves, as long as it’s safe and sensible to do so
– Dr Fiona Walter
Dr Fiona Walter said: “We know that GPs sometimes have to wait weeks for results before they can make any decisions for their patients. We’re trying to reduce this time by assessing ways that GPs could carry out the tests by themselves, as long as it’s safe and sensible to do so. We are open to assessing many different tests, and we’re excited to hear from potential collaborators.”
The Award aims to boost progress aligned to Cancer Research UK’s strategic priorities by building new collaborations within and between institutions, also involving researchers based at the University of Exeter, UCL (University College London), the University of Leeds and a number of international institutions.
Dr Walter said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to transform cancer diagnosis and we are delighted that Cancer Research UK is investing so substantially in primary care cancer research. This award will enable us to nurture a new generation of researchers from a variety of backgrounds to work in primary care cancer diagnostics, creating an educational ‘melting pot’ to rapidly expand the field internationally.”
The Catalyst Award supports capacity building and collaboration in population health with up to £5 million awarded to enable teams to deliver impact over and above what they could do alone.
Sir Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said: “This collaboration will help us discover new and more effective ways to diagnose cancer by applying different methods to GP surgeries, and finding out what really works for them on the job.
“By investing in future experts in this field, it will allow us to continue searching for the best way to diagnose cancer patients for many years to come. This has potential not only to save GPs’ and patients’ time, but also to reduce the anxiety patients feel when waiting for their results.”
Find out more
Dr Fiona Walter leads the Cancer group at the Primary Care Unit.
The Catalyst Award is part of Cancer Research UK’s Population Research Award.
The CanTest Programme now has its own website at www.cantest.org