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Cancer research


Global challenges

Manchester solutions


The University of Manchester’s approach to cancer research spans the full spectrum of combating the disease.

One in two of us will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during our lifetime. Cancer may be one illness, but there are over 200 types – and a diagnosis affects whole families.

Breadth of our research

The University of Manchester’s medical research ranges from understanding the molecular and cellular basis of cancer to the development and testing of novel drugs and other therapeutic approaches. Through nursing, psychology and policy work, solutions to the physical, emotional and economic impacts of cancer are being researched and put into practice across the University.

Led by world-renowned scientists such as Professor Robert Bristow, Professor Sir Salvador Moncada and Professor Richard Marais, cancer research at the University has the academic strength to match the weight of our partnerships and the benefits of our location.


Making a difference

At The University of Manchester we know the value of working together with others. We break down barriers and get involved; we collaborate across disciplines, cultures and countries to solve global problems; and we transform people’s lives by making positive change across the world.

Manchester is contributing to improving the evidence base for the treatment and detection of cancer, both in the UK and globally, including in India where our researchers have increased survival rates of children with leukaemia by 15% in just four years.

What we are doing in India is just a small distillation of our impact globally. We owe it to society to turn our knowledge back to the bigger global society so we can benefit everyone on this planet. 

Professor Vaskar Saha / Professor of Paediatric Oncology

Discover how our academics are sharing lessons learned in Manchester for the benefit of global populations.

University of Manchester infographic: cancer
Click to view full infographic

Reach and impact

Our links with NHS organisations and cancer charities – as well as the support of the local population – make for an unrivalled beacon of research, where outstanding clinical work is leading to innovative techniques and personalised treatments.

Through the Manchester Cancer Research Centre we work with Cancer Research UK and The Christie NHS Foundation Trust to turn research findings in the laboratory into better, more effective, treatments for cancer patients. The Centre’s new building houses 150 researchers and world-class facilities for imaging and sample analysis.

Our trials led to anastrozole replacing tamoxifen as the major endocrine therapy for breast cancer, a development that has benefited 1.5 million women globally. Our partnerships with companies such as AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline bring new drugs to the market.

And we’re reaching out to where help is needed most – such as in Uganda, where our academics and medics are helping to roll out a national programme of cervical cancer screening.

Cancer is a disease that affects so many, in different, often devastating, ways. At The University of Manchester we want to loosen cancer’s grip and improve the lives of those it affects.

Cancer: Research breakthroughs