Charity income loss could impact with £167m drop in funding for UK cancer research

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Today, on World Cancer Research day, data released from the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) shows that UK cancer research could see a £167m drop in funding as a result of charity income loss.

The NCRI is a UK-wide partnership between 20 of the largest funders of cancer research and includes Brain Tumour Research.

The sobering key messages from the accompanying press release are:

1. A drop in cancer research funding

Charities play a vital role in UK cancer research: In the year 2018/19, charities accounted for over 50% of publicly funded cancer research. Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, cancer research charities are predicting their spending on research will drop by around 46%, equating to around £167m in the current financial year. The effect on charity spend could be even greater in 2021/22.

2. Site specific research will be affected

A reduction in charity investment in research due to the Covid-19 pandemic will impact research that is focused on a specific cancer type; 70% of this type of research is funded by charities, while health departments and medical research councils are large funders of non-site-specific research and the research infrastructure that supports all cancer research. Data shows that charities are the largest public funders of site-specific cancer research, including blood cancer (66%), brain tumours (87%), lung cancer (62%), pancreatic cancer (85%) and prostate cancer (80%). 

3. A concerning international comparison

There is concern that Covid-19 will disproportionally affect cancer research in the UK compared to other countries, due to the higher levels of research that is funded by charities. This requires additional investigation by NCRI and International Cancer Research Partnership (ICRP).

We echo the sentiments of Dr Iain Frame, NCRI Chief Executive who said: “At this time where funding is reduced, cancer research funders must work together to coordinate research, reducing duplication of effort, and identifying priority areas that will have maximum impact for patients. Partnerships like the NCRI, which brings together charities, research councils and government from all four nations of the United Kingdom, are vital to act as a catalyst for progress in cancer research through collaboration.”

You can read more on this at the NCRI website here.

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