Cancer Research UK is to fund more work on pancreatic, lung and oesophageal cancer and will open up to 20 more research centres as part of its plans to disburse £1.5 billion (US$2.3 billion) over the next five years. The charity, the world's largest independent funder of cancer research, already provides core funding for seven dedicated cancer institutes in Britain.
Compared with other cancers, such as prostate and breast cancer, for which survival rates have improved, "essentially no progress" has been made in preventing deaths from pancreatic, lung and oesophageal cancers, says Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK's chief executive.
The charity recently delayed making decisions on applications for project grants, due in January 2009, until April. But it will press ahead with its five-year strategy commitment despite the financial downturn. "We are weathering the storm," says Kumar.
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