Our goal is to save 100,000 lives and save health care providers $1.5B
Last year cancer killed 14.1 million people. It is a stark reality that 1 in 2 of us will get cancer. From our parents to our partners, our children, our grandchildren - 1 in 2 will get cancer. We must find better ways to treat cancer, but more importantly better ways to detect cancer earlier, when chances of a cure are dramatically higher.
Lung cancer is the most common cancer in the world with an estimated 1.8 million cases and 1.6 million deaths in 2012. It is estimated that in 2016 there will be over 221,000 new cases of lung cancer in the United States and at over 158,000 deaths is the number one cause of cancer deaths. The annual treatment costs of lung cancer are $12.1 billion with an additional cost in the US of $36.1 billion due to lost productivity.
Colon cancer is the second most common cancer killer, with 215,000 deaths every year at a cost of $99 billion to the global economy. With current screening programmes only one in ten patients with colon cancer are diagnosed at a curable early stage.
Early detection is our greatest opportunity
In the war on the cancer, the battlefield is uneven. Some cancers are common but mortality is relatively low. In other cancers, survival rates are high because screening programmes and treatments are effective. The greatest problem lies with cancers which affect millions of people yet survival rates remain very poor. The diagram below shows the change in 10 year survival rates for a range of cancers since 1971. Colon and lung cancer have a high incidence and stubbornly poor rates of 10 year survival despite 40 years of development. Today lung and colon cancer are still the world's biggest cancer killers - it is here that we can have the greatest impact.
Early detection has the greatest potential to impact survival rates. If detected early over half of lung cancer patients and 93 percent of colon cancer patients can be cured with treatments that exist today. If detected late less than 5 percent will survive 5 years. Today, only 14 percent of patients with lung cancer and 9 percent of patients with colon cancer are diagnosed at this curable early stage. Our greatest opportunity lies not in developing new drugs but increasing rates of early diagnosis through improved cancer screening.
Breath Biopsy® - chemical biomarkers in breath
Every time you breath out there are thousands of chemicals on your breath, some of these are markers of cancer. In our labs in Cambridge we are developing a cancer breathalyzer - we are using our Breath Biopsy® platform based on proven microchip sensor technology to sniff out these chemical markers to detect cancer earlier when more people will survive.
We were delighted to get the backing of the NHS and CRUK to develop our technology and run large scale clinical trials. We’ve already tested hundreds of patients in our LuCID lung cancer trial. In the UK only 14.5% of people are diagnosed with early stage, treatable lung cancer. If we are able to increase this to 25% we’d save 10,000 lives in the UK alone. The faster we can run our trials and complete our research the sooner this will be a reality. There will be fewer families who lost someone because their cancer was picked up too late.
By supporting our research you can help us save 100,000 lives.