It is estimated that the NHS could save £44 million a year in treatment costs if four cancers were diagnosed more quickly, according to cancer experts at the recent launch of the new initiative at The Christie. .

The impact of cancer – not only on NHS finances but more importantly people’s health and well-being – was starkly laid out at the launch of the collaborative PED research initiative.

The PED focus will be driven by The Christie NHS Foundation Trust – Europe’s biggest single-site cancer centre with one of the largest trials portfolio with over 550 active trials. The conference, attracting over 130 leading academics, scientists and researchers, was hosted by The Christie, and the delegates were able to explore the possibilities of new research and collaborations that will be the future of developing new preventative and early detection techniques – for both Manchester and the wider cancer community.

Approximately 6,500 people die each year from cancer in Greater Manchester – a figure which is 10 percent higher than the UK average. The Greater Manchester region has a lung mortality rate that is 10 percent higher than the UK average – and correspondingly it also has more smokers (21 percent, or 70,000 more than the English average of 18 percent.)

Lung cancer consequently causes more premature deaths in Greater Manchester than all other cancers combined.

“It is against this backdrop that we really start the engine of prevention and early detection research today,” said Sir Salvador Moncada, Institute Director of Cancer Sciences at The University of Manchester.

In association with other partners in The University of Manchester’s cancer beacon – a ground-breaking collaboration designed to push cancer research to its furthest boundaries – all the partners in the new programme will be shining a spotlight on the issue of cancer prevention and early detection, and our scientists and researchers will be utterly focused on developing order of magnitude breakthroughs in this crucial area of cancer treatment.

During the launch of the PED research initiative at the conference, Professor Moncada outlined the key areas the PED research community will focus on initially – lung, breast, colorectal/bowel and gynaecological. Additionally, he encouraged delegates and their colleagues throughout the PED research discipline to align their research with these priorities

The need for such collaborative working is clear; people’s lives depend on it. When bowel cancer is diagnosed at the earliest stage, more than nine out of ten people survive at least 10 years. If diagnosed at late stage, however, the survival rate is fewer than one in 10 people.

Many cancers can be prevented – 42 percent of cancer cases could be prevented by lifestyle and other factors; 54 percent of bowel cancers and 27 percent of breast cancers are preventable.

The new PED initiative is designed to save lives and save the NHS significant amounts of stretched resources. This new focus was made possible in part by the recent £28.5 million National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funding award for the Manchester Biomedical Research Centre.