Call to focus cancer research on prevention and diagnosis

Cancer research needs to focus less on developing new drugs and more on preventing and diagnosing cases, according to Richard Sullivan, of King's College London's Integrated Cancer Centre.

Professor Sullivan told the ECCO-ESMO (European Cancer Organisation - European Society for Medical Oncology) conference in Berlin this week that enough money was being directed to cancer research, but not to the right areas.

‘This is a deeply unfashionable view and the easy way out is to say that we must just ask for more money,' he said. ‘But the reality is we have to prioritise.

‘What we need is a reapportioning of budgets from the charitable sector and public funders to carve out space for these other areas of cancer research that are largely invisible to a lot of policymakers.'

He argued that public and government funded research needs to look at improving detection and identifying how far the disease has progressed. Studies should also look at developing new surgical and pathology services, he said.

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