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CRUK UCL Centre: Vision and Strategy

The Cancer Research UK UCL Centre (CRUK UCL Centre) is part of a national network of 14 centres funded by Cancer Research UK dedicated to delivering world-leading cancer research.

Centre Co-Directors: Professor Daniel Hochhauser and Professor Tariq Enver

Vision and strategy 

Our vision for the CRUK UCL Centre is to advance world-class scientific research into the causes, growth and spread of cancers, and how cancers resist current therapies. Using this knowledge, we are creating a translational pipeline, connecting basic research to the development of novel cancer treatments.

The Centre creates a virtual focal point for cancer research at UCL, bringing together researchers and clinicians from UCL and its partner hospital trusts to accelerate cancer research discoveries. We focus primarily on strengthening existing areas of clinical and academic excellence in cancer research at UCL, such as lung cancer, haematological malignancies, prostate cancer and cancer immunotherapies, to enable world-leading contributions in precision cancer medicine. However, we continue research into selected rare cancers and cancers of unmet need, including brain cancers and sarcomas.

The Centre aims are centred on nine core research themes, which are underpinned by three overarching aims: Immuno-biology of Cancer, Precision Medicine and Multidisciplinary research.

Working together to accelerate Cancer Research

We harness the world-class capabilities of UCL in biology (MRC Laboratory for Molecular and Cell Biology (LMCB) and the Division of Surgery), engineering, physics, mathematics, pharmacy, computing and public health to the benefit of our cancer research programmes. To foster these interdisciplinary collaborations, we host a multidisciplinary seminar series. The CRUK UCL Centre also provides pump-priming awards for early-phase projects with a focus on interdisciplinary themes to promote collaboration between various disciplines. This has led to the award of nine CRUK Multidisciplinary Grants to cancer researchers at UCL.

In addition to utilising diverse expertise at UCL, we continue to broaden our engagement with partner institutions to create collaborative environments in which focused cancer research can flourish, and to maximise the chances of rapid translation of findings to impact cancer across a wide population base. As a founding member of UCLPartners - an integrated healthcare system that serves a patient population of over 6 million across 40 partner hospitals – our Centre formalises these interactions, and makes further connections with aligned institutions to foster a unified strategic national agenda in cancer research. CRUK encourages these cross-institutional collaborative research through their Accelerator Award scheme, which is designed to bring together resources and expertise to accelerate progress in cancer research that cannot be delivered in isolation. UCL is currently leading three Centres’ Network Accelerator Awards: the Cancer Immuno Therapy Accelerator (CITA), the Posthumous tissuE donAtion in CancEr (PEACE) study and the International Glioma Cellular Genetics Resource (GCGR), jointly led by Edinburgh and UCL. To date, UCL’s involvement in the Centres’ Network Accelerator Awards is greater than any other CRUK Centre.

We have also established strong national collaborations to enhance our translational capabilities, including our joint Lung Cancer Centre of Excellence with Manchester, the Comprehensive Cancer Imaging Centre together with Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust/ KCL/ St Thomas’s Hospital Medical School and a clinical portfolio with Barts/ QMUL.  

Building on the foundations of our CRUK UCL Centre, together with the Francis Crick Institute, Barts/Queen Marys University of London (QMUL) and King's Health Partners (KHP), we plan to build in the area of biotherapies through the CRUK City of London Centre, a CRUK Major Centre in Cancer Biotherapeutics. This is an area where we have all invested heavily in recent years. In coming together, our mission is to enhance and accelerate our translational pipeline to be at the forefront of cancer biotherapeutics in the UK and internationally.

Translating research discoveries – Support for UCL Cancer Researchers

The CRUK UCL Centre, together with UCL, has developed Translational Technology Platforms (TTPs) to provide the scientific infrastructure for cutting edge basic, translational and clinical cancer services to support researchers within the UCL Cancer Institute and more widely. More information regarding the TTPs can be found here.