Cancer breakthroughs

We pioneer discoveries across cancer prevention, detection and treatment to improve outcomes for people affected by the disease.

The Manchester difference

At The University of Manchester, we cultivate multi-disciplinary teams from areas including biology, maths, physics, big data, AI and immunology to spark new ways of thinking about tackling cancer across the whole spectrum of the disease.

Explore the themes below to discover how our researchers are working to tackle one of the world’s biggest health challenges.

Our cancer research activities embody the multi-disciplinary, collaborative and entrepreneurial values that lie at the heart of our University.

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell / University President and Vice-Chancellor


Research over the past two decades has estimated that more than half of cancer cases could have been prevented by applying knowledge that we already have. Smoking and tobacco use, inactivity, and obesity are modifiable causes of cancer.

Our research aims to deliver effective strategies to help stop the disease before it starts.

Earlier detection

Cancer remains the leading cause of death in the UK, with rates projected to increase to more than half a million annual cases by 2035.

Early detection is key to transforming the prospects for patients diagnosed with cancer – the earlier it is detected, the higher the chance that treatment will be successful.

Our research focuses on developing innovative detection methods and technologies for diagnosing cancer earlier.


Effective cancer treatments are fundamental to improving outcomes for patients, however, not all populations have the same access to treatment and standards vary depending on location. Of the patients whose cancer is treated successfully, many will experience long-term adverse effects from their treatment, including increased risk of developing a secondary cancer.

Our research includes improving the effectiveness of treatments; developing ways to prevent or lessen side effects; making treatments more personalised; and striving to ensure that research developed in Manchester is shared across the world to improve outcomes for everyone.