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Research Spend Report

How the analysis was instigated, and information about the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI).

Cancer52 and the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) long worked in partnership for the benefit of research on rare and less common cancers in the UK, and previously conducted analyses in 2012 and 2013 on research spend by Cancer52 charity members. In this analysis, 10 years on, the focus of Cancer52 members’ research spend was analysed and placed in the wider context of rare and less common cancer research funded by NCRI partners. NCRI partners included cancer charities and government funding organisations. This allowed for a snapshot of non-industry research spend on rare and less common cancers, separate to the spend on the four most common cancers, lung, breast, bowel and prostate. It also looked at the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic during the financial year 2020-2021. Commercial research spend, such as by pharmaceutical companies, was not covered in this analysis.

Rare and less common cancers are defined as any cancer other than the four most common cancers; lung, breast, bowel and prostate. They include cancers like pancreatic and leukaemia, through to rare cancers such as salivary gland cancer or Wilms tumour.


The NCRI was a UK wide partnership between the government, charity and industry which promoted co-operation in cancer research amongst member organisations for the benefit of patients, the public and the scientific community. The NCRI worked to address some of the challenges identified in cancer research and deliver activities to advance the progress of cancer research. In 2023, the NCRI wound down as an organisation, however this does not affect the validity of the analysis. 

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