Cancer Research UK is a cancer research and awareness charity in the United Kingdom and Isle of Man, formed on 4 February 2002 by the merger of The Cancer Research Campaign and the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. Its aim is to reduce the number of deaths from cancer. As the world’s largest independent cancer research charity it conducts research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease. Research activities are carried out in institutes, universities and hospitals across the UK, both by the charity’s own employees and by its grant-funded researchers. It also provides information about cancer and runs campaigns aimed at raising awareness of the disease and influencing public policy.
Cancer Research UK‘s work is almost entirely funded by the public. It raises money through donations, legacies, community fundraising, events, retail and corporate partnerships. Over 40,000 people are regular volunteers.
The Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) was founded in 1902 as the Cancer Research Fund, changing its name to the Imperial Cancer Research Fund two years later. The charity grew over the next twenty years to become one of the world’s leading cancer research charities. Its flagship laboratories formerly at Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, and Clare Hall, Hertfordshire, and known as the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute, are now part of the Francis Crick Institute.
The British Empire Cancer Campaign (BECC) was founded in 1923, and initially drew a hostile response from ICRF and the Medical Research Council, who considered it a rival. “The Campaign”, as it was colloquially known, became a very successful and powerful grant-giving body. In 1970, the charity was renamed The Cancer Research Campaign (CRC).
In 2002 the two charities agreed to merge to form Cancer Research UK, the largest independent research organisation in the world dedicated to fighting cancer (the largest, the National Cancer Institute, is funded by the US Government). At the time of the merger, the ICRF had an annual income of £124m, while the CRC had an income of £101m.
The Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute.
In the financial year 2014/15 the charity spent £422.67 million on cancer research projects (around 67% of its total income for that year). The bulk of the remaining costs were spent on trading and fundraising costs with a small amount also spent on information services, campaigning, advocacy, administration and other activities or was held in reserve. The charity funds the work of over 4,000 researchers, doctors and nurses throughout the UK, supports over 200 clinical trials and studies cancer and cancer risk in over a million people in the UK.
Around 40% of the charity’s research expenditure goes on basic laboratory research relevant to all types of cancer into the molecular basis of cancer. The research is intended to improve understanding of how cancer develops and spreads and thus provide a foundation for other research.The rest of its funding is used to support research into over 100 specific cancer types, focusing on key areas such as drug discovery and development; prevention, early detection and imaging; surgery and radiotherapy; and cancers where survival rates are still low, such as oesophageal, lung and pancreatic cancers.