Cancer research faces uncertain post-COVID landscape

There’s a bright future ahead for cancer research in the UK, but only if the government is able to implement a clear plan for funding and development going forward, says The Institute of Cancer Research, London’s Paul Workman.

Cancer research in the UK risks facing a “perfect storm” of stalled work and reduced funding that could “capsize” the sector.

That’s according to Professor Paul Workman, CEO of the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), who says that COVID has delayed advances for cancer patients by at least 18 months.

“In the first stages of the pandemic we had to keep people out of the labs and had to stall clinical trials,” he says. “Even now we can only have a few scientists in at any one time, so people have to work shifts, including nights and weekends.”

On top of reducing output, this is impacting scientists’ morale.

“We have passionate researchers who are frustrated that they can’t get into the lab and do their work,” says Workman. “They’re missing the buzz of having the institute full, and the resulting creative interaction that can spark new ideas.”

 

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