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Cancer research funding could be cut due to COVID-19 pandemic

Charity warns £150m could be lost per year

Cancer Research UK

Leading charity Cancer Research UK (CRUK) has warned about the dire impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its research funding, and has said that up to £150m could be cut per year as a result of the global health crisis.

According to the cancer research charity, which funds around 50% of all publicly funded cancer research in the UK, these cuts will prevent future breakthroughs for people with cancer and will also impact scientists and research infrastructure.

CRUK has warned that this could ultimately delay and push progress backwards for the ongoing survival of people with cancer.

In a plea to the government, CRUK alongside the Association of Medical Research Charities has asked for the urgent development of a solution to ‘bridge the funding gap’. Both organisations have also highlighted that medical research charities are essential to the post-pandemic rebooting of the UK’s economy, as they support the UK’s place as a global centre of scientific excellence.

“We have been massively hit by COVID-19, as our fundraising efforts have been hugely restricted. We have been doing everything possible to limit the impact,” said Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of CRUK.

“But without a way to bridge this funding gap, we will have to make radical decisions about cutting lifesaving research, which will severely impact our vision of seeing three in four people survive their cancer within the next 20 years. Ultimately, it will be patients who will suffer the consequences, which is heartbreaking,” she added.

CRUK has already had to cut £44m from funding across its research portfolio, due to the direct impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is also preparing for a 30% fall in income this financial year, with projected further losses into the next year, due to the temporary closure of its shops and the cancellation of major fundraising events.

This could entail further future cuts to its research, including the cancellation of plans to fund new projects in the short term, such as new clinical trials, and the inability to support thousands of early-career scientists.

“Cuts of this magnitude to Cancer Research UK’s research funding will have a deep and long-lasting impact on our vibrant life-sciences industry, a sector that provided science-led solutions to the pandemic, highlighting the need for us to keep this strong and intact. A loss of £150 million is the equivalent of ten years’ worth of clinical trials going unfunded,” said Charles Swanton, chief clinician at CRUK.

“We need support from our partners during the period of recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, to ensure we can continue our world-class cancer research for the benefit of everyone. Without that support we will have to make devastating funding cuts to our discovery and clinical research portfolio at a time when the impact of COVID-19 on cancer patients has never been so great,” he added.

Article by
PMGroup

24th June 2020

From: Healthcare

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