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A group of cancer specialists urge philanthropists to assist in financing a groundbreaking era of research.
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A group of cancer specialists urge philanthropists to assist in financing a groundbreaking era of research.

Prominent cancer specialists from various countries are urging affluent individuals and charitable donors to generously contribute towards advancing a groundbreaking era in cancer studies.

Over 50 experienced researchers from various regions such as the UK, Europe, North America, and Asia, which includes three Nobel prize winners, believe that progress in artificial intelligence and other advancements have opened up a special chance to revolutionize cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment within the next decade.

In their “Letter to the World”, the scientists referred to cancer as a significant health concern of our era and emphasized that it warrants a similar massive global effort as seen during the Covid crisis in order to develop tests, vaccines, and treatments for the disease.

As prominent members of the worldwide science and research community, we recognize that we are at a crucial moment that has the potential to revolutionize our understanding and treatment of cancer,” they stated. The researchers expressed their belief that with the help of philanthropy, the field could expedite the translation of laboratory concepts into practical tools and ultimately enhance or rescue millions of lives.

Globally, 18 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year and 10 million die from the disease. The number of cases is expected to rise 50% by 2040, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Recently, scientists have noted a sharp rise in cases among the under-50s.

Paul Nurse, the head of the Francis Crick Institute in London and recipient of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Medicine, stated that advancements in technology have allowed for faster progress in cancer research. He predicts that within the next ten years, there will be significant improvements in treatments for childhood cancers and early detection of tumors through testing and personal data.

However, Cancer Research UK reports that researchers in this area are facing a deficit of £1 billion in funding over the next ten years, putting progress at risk. “In order to continue making significant advancements in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, we require financial support,” stated Nurse, one of the letter’s signatories. The letter is calling on philanthropists to contribute to the worldwide effort.

The correspondence aligns with the kickoff of CRUK’s More Research, Less Cancer initiative, with the goal of collecting £400m in charitable donations. The organization predicts that by reducing UK’s cancer death rates by 15% in the next 20 years, approximately 110,000 lives could be saved.

The United Kingdom has lower five-year survival rates compared to other developed nations for breast, lung, and colon cancer, which are three of the most prevalent types of cancer. This is primarily due to delayed diagnoses and treatment. In England, the waiting period for cancer patients has reached its worst point, with less than two-thirds receiving treatment within 62 days of being suspected of having cancer.

Scientists are optimistic that the chances of survival will increase with the success of several new technologies. Advanced blood tests have the ability to identify over twelve types of cancer in their early stages, and artificial intelligence is now being utilized to identify individuals who are at a higher risk for certain types of cancer.

Prof Sir Peter Ratcliffe, who received the 2019 Nobel prize in medicine and holds positions at the Crick and University of Oxford, is another person who signed the letter. He expressed that new computational tools have great potential when used alongside advanced analytical methods at the molecular level. This has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of cancer and the development of cancer treatments.

The philanthropic donations raised by CRUK’s campaign will aid in the research efforts at the Crick and the global Cancer Grand Challenges initiative.

Caroline Dive, who is currently serving as the interim director of the CRUK Manchester Institute, stated that this is a critical moment for cancer research. She believes that we are entering a period of great potential, thanks to the advancements made in the field over the last few decades, which have positioned us to make significant strides forward.

Source: theguardian.com