Cancer cells

Prime minister announces £75 million to support new prostate cancer research

Date: 13 April 2018

The Prime Minister has announced £75 million to support new research into early diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer.

The NIHR will recruit 40,000 patients into more than 60 studies in prostate cancer over the next five years. This will be backed by £75 million to support new research into early diagnosis, innovative new treatments and care for men with prostate cancer.

The new studies will test treatments such as more precise radiotherapy, high-intensity focused ultrasound, and cryotherapy, alongside supportive interventions including exercise and dietary advice.

The new studies will particularly target groups at higher risk of prostate cancer, such as black men – one in four of whom will develop the disease – men aged 50 or over, and men with a family history of prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and is now the third most common cause of cancer deaths in the UK. It affects one in eight men and claims 10,000 lives a year‎.

The Prime Minister Theresa May said: “Too many people endure the loss of a loved one because cancer diagnosis comes too late in the day. Our cancer treatments are world class and survival rates are at a record high, but prostate cancer still claims thousands of lives every year.

“I know we can do more. That’s why I am setting out new plans to help thousands of men get treated earlier and faster.”

Dr Jonathan Sheffield, Chief Executive at the NIHR Clinical Research Network, said:

“Clinical research brings us closer to the development of new treatments for prostate cancer patients.

“The NIHR will work closely with the NHS, life sciences industry, charities and research funders to support the recruitment of 40,000 men into research studies over the next five years. This will provide more opportunities for earlier access to new drugs and therapies, which will ultimately lead to improved diagnoses and care in the future.”

Today’s announcement will both complement and extend research undertaken over the past 15 years by the NIHR, Cancer Research UK, Prostate Cancer UK and the Medical Research Council.

NIHR Biomedical Research Centres are carrying out early research to translate laboratory discoveries into potential new interventions for men with prostate cancer. Several studies are testing potential genetic markers in the blood or urine that could be used for screening.

Professor Ros Eeles, Prostate Theme Lead of the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at The Royal Marsden and The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said:

“From studying the DNA of hundreds of thousands of men around the world, we have begun to understand why some men get prostate cancer and others don’t. We now want to integrate genetics into mainstream clinical practice to improve diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. We are conducting trials to see if genetic tests can pick out high-risk men who might benefit from screening to identify the disease earlier or even interventions to reduce their risk.”

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  • Summary:
    The Prime Minister has announced £75 million to support new research into early diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer through the NIHR.
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