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CHALLENGES

Embarking upon a new era of discovery

By daring the very best to come together and think differently, we aim to make the radical progress against cancer the world urgently needs.

Founders' logos

Applications remain open for:

182
Days
12
Hours
33
Minutes
Who will solve cancer’s most complex challenges?

The nine new challenges are now open for applications. Submit your expression of interest (EOI) before 22 April 2021.

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

Find everything you need to apply for the current round of challenges

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.

To pinpoint each round of challenges, we convene workshops around the world, consulting with researchers, people affected by cancer and organisations – including, in the most recent round, the Spanish Association Against Cancer (FC-AECC) and the Italian Association for Cancer Research (AIRC). 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. As funding partners, Cancer Research UK and the National Cancer Institute make the final decision on which challenges should be posed to the research community.

CHALLENGES

Open for application now

3D tumour mapping icon
CHALLENGE:
Map the molecular and cellular tumour microenvironment in order to define new targets for therapy and prognosis
Focus:
ACTIVE TEAMS:
IMAXT, Rosetta
Cachexia icon
CHALLENGE:
Understand and reverse cachexia and declining performance status in cancer patients
Cancer causes icon
CHALLENGE:
Understand how lifestyle factors, such as obesity, cause cancer
Focus:
ACTIVE TEAMS:
STORMing Cancer
Dormancy icon
CHALLENGE:
Identify and target dormant cancer cells
E-cigarettes icon
CHALLENGE:
Determine the potential benefits and risks of e-cigarette use
extrachromosomal DNA icon
CHALLENGE:
Understand the biology of ecDNA generation and action and develop approaches to target these mechanisms in cancer
Inflammation icon
CHALLENGE:
Determine how inflammation causes cancer
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
Macromolecules Icon
CHALLENGE:
Systemically deliver macromolecules to intracellular targets for therapeutic benefit in cancer
Microbiota Icon
CHALLENGE:
Understand how microbes inside our bodies affect cancer treatment
Focus:
ACTIVE TEAMS:
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
Senescence icon
CHALLENGE:
Understand and exploit senescence to improve cancer treatment
Solid tumours in children icon
CHALLENGE:
Develop novel therapies to target unique features in solid tumours in children
Tissue specificity icon
CHALLENGE:
Understand why mistakes in certain genes only cause cancer in specific parts of the body
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
UNFUNDED CHALLENGES
Artificial intelligence Icon
CHALLENGE:
Get clues to detect cancer earlier from medical and non-medical information
Biological macromolecules icon
CHALLENGE:
Deliver biologically active macromolecules to any and all cells in the body to effectively treat cancer
Dormancy icon
CHALLENGE:
Understand how some cancers come back many years after treatment
Eradicate EBV cancers icons
CHALLENGE:
Eradicate EBV-induced cancers from the world
Prevention vaccines icon
CHALLENGE:
Develop vaccines to prevent non-viral cancers
Targeting Myc icon
CHALLENGE:
Develop innovative approaches to target the cancer super-controller Myc
Treatment regimens icon
CHALLENGE:
Work out the best way to combine treatments
Tumour vaccinology icon
CHALLENGE:
Understand how immunotherapies work so doctors can identify who will benefit from them