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Queen Mary, University of London to lead with £4.7million cancer project

Queen Mary, University of London is to lead a £4.7million Policy Research Unit dedicated to research on cancer screening, symptom awareness and early diagnosis.  The funding is provided over 5 years by the Department of Health’s Policy Research Programme.

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Professor Stephen Duffy
Professor Stephen Duffy

The Unit will be led by Professor Stephen Duffy of Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry and deputy director Professor Jane Wardle of University College London. The Unit’s aim is to undertake research to underpin earlier diagnosis of cancers, so enabling more successful treatment and ensuring better survival rates.

Currently the UK has poorer survival rates from some cancers than its European counterparts and it is thought that many of these differences can be attributed to the later diagnosis of cancer in the UK.

The research Unit has been commissioned to provide evidence to support the development, implementation and evaluation of Department of Health policy. Its outputs will also assist the work of the NHS Cancer Screening Programme and of the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative (NAEDI).

The remit of the Policy Research Unit will include:

· Studies of cancer awareness and survival
· Studies of GP response to cancer symptoms
· Studies of the benefits of the NHS cancer screening programmes (cervix, breast and bowel) designed to identify good practice
· Assessment of interventions to enhance cancer awareness, improve access to screening and promote diagnosis at an earlier stage

Professor Duffy said: “It is a big responsibility to be awarded this programme, but it is also a great opportunity to help develop policies to improve outcomes for cancer patients.”

Collaborating in the Unit - and joint recipients of part of the funding - are Kings College London; University College London; the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; Hull York Medical School; Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, and the University of Durham.


Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry
Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry offers international levels of excellence in research and teaching while serving a population of unrivalled diversity amongst which cases of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, TB, oral disease and cancers are prevalent, within east London and the wider Thames Gateway. Through partnership with our linked trusts, notably Barts and The London NHS Trust, and our associated University Hospital trusts – Homerton, Newham, Whipps Cross and Queen’s – the School’s research and teaching is informed by an exceptionally wide ranging and stimulating clinical environment.

At the heart of the School’s mission lies world class research, the result of a focused programme of recruitment of leading research groups from the UK and abroad and a £100 million investment in state-of-the-art facilities. Research is focused on translational research, cancer, cardiology, clinical pharmacology, inflammation, infectious diseases, stem cells, dermatology, gastroenterology, haematology, diabetes, neuroscience, surgery and dentistry.

The School is nationally and internationally recognised for research in these areas, reflected in the £40 million it attracts annually in research income. Its fundamental mission, with its partner NHS Trusts, and other partner organisations such as CRUK, is to ensure that that the best possible clinical service is underpinned by the very latest developments in scientific and clinical teaching, training and research.

The National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative (NAEDI)
The National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative (NAEDI), a partnership between the Department of Health, the NHS and Cancer Research UK, was formally launched in November 2008. The overall goal of the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative (NAEDI) is to promote earlier diagnosis of cancer, through that to improve cancer survival rates, and to reduce cancer mortality.

The Department of Health’s Policy Research Programme (PRP) commissions research across the full policy remit of the Department of Health (DH) and PRP priorities are primarily determined by DH’s strategic objectives. The PRP also engages in consultation with colleagues across government and other key stakeholders.

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