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CHALLENGES

A new era of discovery

We dare the very best to come together, think differently and make progress against cancer's toughest challenges.

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Who will solve cancer’s most complex challenges?

In June 2022 we announced 4 new teams receiving $100m to take on some of cancer's toughest challenges. 

We have now launched a global conversation in late 2022 to identify the next round of challenges that will be open for applications in March 2023.

Successful teams each receive up to £20m ($25m) to carry out team science on a global scale. 

Catalysing a step change in cancer research

Every two years we work with the global research community to identify some of the most complex problems in cancer research – those which, if solved, could make the biggest difference to progress.

Together with our partners, we convene workshops around the world, consulting with researchers, people affected by cancer and other research organisations. We also invite the submission of ideas online.

This rigorous process captures a breadth of ideas that are interrogated by the Cancer Grand Challenges Scientific Committee – a selection of the world’s most eminent scientists. Cancer Research UK and the National Cancer Institute make the final decision on which challenges should be posed to the research community.

CHALLENGES

3D tumour mapping icon
CHALLENGE:
Find a way of mapping tumours at the molecular and cellular level
Focus:
ACTIVE TEAMS:
IMAXT, Rosetta
Cachexia icon
CHALLENGE:
Understand and reverse cachexia and declining performance status in cancer patients
Focus:
ACTIVE TEAMS:
Cancan
Cancer causes icon
CHALLENGE:
Determine the mechanisms that cause cancer without known mutagenesis, such as obesity, in order to devise novel interventions
Focus:
ACTIVE TEAMS:
STORMing Cancer
extrachromosomal DNA icon
CHALLENGE:
Understand the biology of ecDNA generation and action, and develop approaches to target these mechanisms in cancer
Focus:
ACTIVE TEAMS:
eDyNAmic
Lethal versus non-lethal cancers Icon
CHALLENGE:
Distinguish between lethal cancers that need treating, and non-lethal cancers that don't
Focus:
ACTIVE TEAMS:
PRECISION
Microbiota Icon
CHALLENGE:
Improve treatment responses by manipulating the composition and status of the microbiota
Focus:
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OPTIMISTICC
normal phenotypes icon
CHALLENGE:
Understand how cells and tissues maintain “normal” phenotypes whilst harbouring oncogenic mutations and how they transition to become a tumour
Focus:
ACTIVE TEAMS:
Prominent
Solid tumours in children icon
CHALLENGE:
Develop novel therapies to target unique features in solid tumours in children
Focus:
ACTIVE TEAMS:
NexTGen
Tissue specificity icon
CHALLENGE:
Devise approaches to prevent or treat cancer based on mechanisms that determine tissue specificity of some cancer genes
Focus:
ACTIVE TEAMS:
SPECIFICANCER
Unusual mutation patterns icon
CHALLENGE:
Discover how unusual patterns of mutation are induced by different cancer-causing events
Focus:
ACTIVE TEAMS:
Mutographs

Round four challenges

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Unfunded challenges

While all Cancer Grand Challenges have the potential to drive radical progress against cancer, some are not being investigated by teams. Explore these challenges here.

Artificial intelligence Icon
CHALLENGE:
Detect cancer earlier by interrogating medical and non-medical data sets using machine and deep-learning
Biological macromolecules icon
CHALLENGE:
Deliver biologically active macromolecules to any and all cells in the body
Dormancy icon
CHALLENGE:
Identify and target tumour cells that remain dormant for many years after seemingly effective treatment
Dormancy icon
CHALLENGE:
Identify and target dormant cancer cells
E-cigarettes icon
CHALLENGE:
Determine the potential benefits and risks of e-cigarette use
Eradicate EBV cancers icons
CHALLENGE:
To eradicate EBV-induced cancers from the world
Inflammation icon
CHALLENGE:
Determine how inflammation causes cancer
Macromolecules Icon
CHALLENGE:
Systemically deliver macromolecules to intracellular targets for therapeutic benefit in cancer
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Prevention vaccines icon
CHALLENGE:
Develop vaccines to prevent non-viral cancers
Senescence icon
CHALLENGE:
Understand and exploit senescence to improve cancer treatment
Targeting Myc icon
CHALLENGE:
Develop innovative approaches to target the cancer supercontroller Myc
Treatment regimens icon
CHALLENGE:
Define mechanistic rules for combinatorial treatments to overcome resistance and avoid toxicity
Tumour vaccinology icon
CHALLENGE:
Create novel tumour vaccinology approaches that establish or enhance successful immune responses beyond what is revealed by current checkpoint therapy