New European partnerships to accelerate cancer research

OCRB side at night

Cancer Research UK and its European partners, Fondazione AIRC and Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer (AECC), will invest £27.4 million into seven new international projects to accelerate lifesaving cancer research.

The Cancer Research UK Accelerator Awards programme, which provides five years of funding for international projects, reflects a longstanding link between the UK and Europe, working together to drive progress for people affected by cancer. The successful teams will develop new research tools, resources and infrastructure to improve scientists’ understanding of cancer, including rare and hard-to-treat cancers, helping to find better ways to treat them. Projects include investigating how to best combine radiotherapy with the latest immunotherapies, and refocussing research efforts on mesothelioma, an asbestos related cancer, of which cases continue to rise globally.


Three projects will benefit from this funding in Manchester.

  • The first is led by Professor Caroline Dive, Professor of Pharmacology, will test new digital data collection methods within phase I medical trials. They will aim to provide clinical investigators and sponsors across the network of experimental cancer medicine centres in Spain, Italy and the UK near-real time access to patient data to better inform and drive clinical decision making.
  • Professor Tim Illidge, Professor of Targeted Therapy and Oncology at The University of Manchester, is the co-investigator of a project in collaboration with Dr Ignacio Melero at Fundación para la Investigación Médica Aplicada. Their project will test the combination of immunotherapy injections and radiotherapy in mice. They hope the radiotherapy will help awaken an immune response against cancer.
  • Omer Aziz, Clinical Lead for Colorectal Surgery at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, is the co-investigator on a project with Dr Marcello Deraco at Fondazione IRCCS – Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori – Milano, that will build a tissue bank and gather genomic, transcriptomic and clinical data of Pseudomyxoma peritonei, a very rare type of cancer that usually begins in the appendix and can spread to the abdomen, filling it with a jelly like fluid. The team are aiming to find new targets for drug development.
If current trends continue, the world will see a 60% increase in cancer cases over the next two decades. Cancer is a global problem and no one country can tackle it alone

Dr Iain Foulkes

Executive Director of Research and Innovation, Cancer Research UK

Dr Iain Foulkes, executive director of research and innovation at Cancer Research UK, said: “If current trends continue, the world will see a 60% increase in cancer cases over the next two decades. Cancer is a global problem and no one country can tackle it alone. Now the UK has left the European Union, the need to retain collaborative cancer research between the EU and the UK has never been greater. This partnership will also strengthen UK cancer research by the sharing of expertise, new technologies and research talent.”


The Accelerator Awards bring together world-class researchers who would not previously have been able to work together, without the unique structure of this grant scheme. Each collaboration aims to deepen the research community’s understanding of cancer and bring people with cancer closer to new treatments, making use of the expertise and diverse technologies of different partner organisations.


For more information on the Accelerator Awards, including the latest news on the next round of applications, please visit: