British and American scientists are working together to find the earliest signs of cancer to detect and treat the disease before it occurs.
] They plan to "give birth" to cancer in the lab to see exactly what it looks like "on the first day."
This is just one of the research priorities of the new International Alliance for Cancer Screening.
Working together on cancer screening means that patients benefit more quickly, it says.
Cancer Research UK has partnered with Cambridge, Manchester, University College London and Stanford and Oregon Universities in the US to share ideas. Technology and expertise in this field.
Together, scientists aim to develop less invasive tests such as blood, respiratory, and urine tests to monitor high-risk patients and improve imaging to detect cancer Look for early, virtually undetectable signs of the disease.
But they admit that this is "like finding a needle in a haystack" and could be in 30 years.
"The basic problem is that we never get to see it. A cancer is born in a human being," says Dr. David Crosby, Head of Early Detection Research at Cancer Research UK.
"It is already established at the time of discovery."
Manchester researchers, for example, breed human breast tissue in the laboratory with synthetic immune cells to see if they can detect the earliest, subtle changes that could lead to cancer.
Prof. Rob Bristow said it was akin to a "living tissue bank outside of patients".
However, there is always a risk of overdiagnosis, as not all early cell changes lead to cancer.
Cancer researchers say they need to be more precise, also with regard to the genes that humans are born with, and the environment they grow up to determine the individual's personal risk for various cancers.
Only then do they know when to intervene.
So far, scientists have carried out investigations on early detection. Crosby, "will bring about a fundamental change in our healthcare systems by shifting it from the expensive fire-fighting of late-stage diseases to being", will be able to intervene at the earliest stage and provide a quick and cost-effective treatment. "
Figures show that 98% of breast cancer patients live five years or more when the disease is diagnosed at stage 1
Currently however, only about 44% of breast cancer patients are diagnosed at the earliest.
In the UK, there are screening programs for breast, colon and cervical cancer when people reach a certain age.
However, there are currently no reliable screening tools for other cancers such as pancreas, liver, lung and prostate, which means that survival rates are often much lower.
Prof. Mark Emberton of UCL cited the growth of imaging, like MRI, was a "silent revolution" that could replace needles used in biopsies to diagnose prostate cancer.
"Imaging only sees the aggressive cells, it overlooks the things you do not want to find, and over-diagnoses," he said, but warned that this was expensive and time-consuming and "not yet ready for the prime time The tumor that generates sound waves that are analyzed to produce images is the next advance in imaging.
Prof. Emberton said the next goal is to find out which cancers offered this kind of imaging.
At the University of Cambridge, Prof. Rebecca Fitzgerald is developing an advanced endoscope for the detection of pre-cancerous lesions in the esophagus and colon.
Early detection has not received due attention, and some cancer tests could be very simple and cost effective.
Prof. Fitzgerald She looks forward to working with international colleagues to deliver ideas "from the bank to the bedside".
Cancer Research UK is investing GBP 40 million in the International Alliance for Cancer Screening over the next five years. $ 20 million will be provided by Stanford University Canary Center and the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute in Oregon.