One of the most complex and important 21st century challenges is the management and treatment of patients with cancer. The World Health Organisation estimates that cancer accounts for 1 in every 6 deaths worldwide, which makes it the second leading cause of death globally [1]. In addition to the devastating impact of this disease on patients and their families, the total annual global economic cost of cancer is estimated to be approximately £1 trillion [2]. The challenge will become even more prevalent in our ageing society, since the incidence of cancer rises significantly with age, whilst cellular repair mechanisms also become less effective. Reducing cancer mortality rates in our ageing global population could be achieved by earlier diagnosis and more accurate staging of disease. This has been highlighted nationally by the NHS National Cancer Transformation Board [3], the UK Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund ageing society programme [4] and the STFC Strategy for Cancer [5].

The CDN is establishing a multidisciplinary community with academic, clinical and industry stakeholders to address clinical challenges in the diagnosis of cancer. Relevant STFC expertise includes the development of high resolution and high sensitivity detectors, multispectral detectors, data mining techniques and algorithms for image analysis. The Network+ will host multidisciplinary challenge-led workshops to engage key stakeholders and provide funding for scoping studies and proof of concept projects to translate STFC innovations into clinical impact. The research capacity of early career researchers (ECRs) will be developed through travel awards, placements and training. Position papers and fact sheets will be produced to STFC in giving advice to UKRI and providing information to the research and industrial communities and to the public. The Network+ will enable the STFC and wider community to bid for further funding from UKRI, Innovate UK, Official Development Assistance (GCRF and Newton) and the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). The long-term objectives are to improve patient quality of life, increase survival and reduce associated cancer services costs.

[1] World Health Organisation (2014) Global Status report on non communicable disease

[2] http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cancer

[3] NHS England (2016), Achieving World Class-Cancer Outcomes, NHS England Publications Gateway Reference 05215

[4] Industrial Strategy Building a Britain Fit for the Future www.gov.uk/beis

[5] STFC, An STFC Strategy for Cancer Playing our Part


1. Build a multidisciplinary cancer community drawn from STFC researchers and facilities, non-STFC researchers, hospitals and the healthcare industry.

2. Develop novel and accessible technologies/techniques that promote earlier cancer diagnosis and more accurate staging of the disease in secondary care.

3. Enhance the research capacity of ECR members by providing personal development funding for travel to workshops, meetings and to undertake placements.

4. Provide training opportunities for ECR members, made available through the University of Liverpool MSc Clinical Science (Medical Physics) and MSc Clinical Science (Bioinformatics) programmes.

5. Fund seedcorn projects that can be developed into larger challenge-led multidisciplinary proposals for more competitive submission to UKRI, ISCF, GCRF and Innovate UK.