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Cancer Research UK is a cancer research and awareness charity in the United Kingdom and Isle of Man, formed on 4 February 2002 by the merger of The Cancer Research Campaign and the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. As the world's largest independent cancer research charity it conducts research by the charity's own staff and by its grant-funded researchers. It also provides information about cancer and runs campaigns aimed at raising awareness and influencing public policy.
The organisation's work is almost entirely funded by the public. It raises money through donations, legacies, community fundraising, events, retail and corporate partnerships. Over 40,000 people are regular volunteers.
The Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) was founded in 1902 as the Cancer Research Fund, changing its name to the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in 1904. It grew over the next twenty years to become one of the world's leading cancer research charities. Its flagship laboratories formerly at Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, and Clare Hall, Hertfordshire, and known as the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute, are now part of the Francis Crick Institute.
The British Empire Cancer Campaign (BECC) was founded in 1923, and initially drew a hostile response from ICRF and the Medical Research Council, who considered it a rival. "The Campaign", as it was colloquially known, became a very successful and powerful grant-giving body. In 1970, the charity was renamed The Cancer Research Campaign (CRC).
In 2002 the two organisations merged to form Cancer Research UK, the largest independent research organisation in the world dedicated to fighting cancer (the largest, the National Cancer Institute, is funded by the US Government). At the time of the merger, the ICRF had an annual income of £124m, while the CRC had an income of £101m.
The Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute.
In the financial year 2014/15 the charity spent £422.67 million on cancer research projects (67% of its total income for that year). The bulk of the remaining costs were spent on trading and fundraising costs with a small amount spent on information services, campaigning, advocacy, administration and other activities or was held in reserve.
Around 40% of its research expenditure (27% of its total spending) is on basic laboratory research into the molecular basis of cancer . The remainder supports research into over 100 specific cancer types, focusing on drug discovery and development; prevention, early detection and imaging; surgery and radiotherapy; and cancers where survival rates are still low, such as oesophageal, lung and pancreatic cancers.
The charity funds the work of over 4,000 researchers, doctors and nurses throughout the UK, supports over 200 clinical trials and studies cancer and cancer risk in over a million people in the UK.
Renato Dulbecco: recipient of the 1975 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, while deputy director of what was then the Imperial Cancer Research Fund.
Other charitable activities
Through Cancer Health UK, a website written in Plain English, it provides information on cancer and cancer care, and a unique clinical trials database. A team of nurses provides a confidential telephone service, the Cancer Chat forum provides a place for users to talk to others affected by cancer, and mobile cancer awareness units deliver health information to locations of high cancer incidence and mortality . It provides statistical information t s via the Cancer Stats section It also provides publications for the public to order and download.
The charity worked to bring about the smoking ban in England and continues to campaign for further action on smoking. The charity lobbies for better screening programmes and advises on access to new cancer medicines.
Around 600 charity shops selling new and donated second-hand goods, generating £10 million profit in 2019/20.
On 18 July 2012 it was announced that Cancer Research UK was to receive its largest single donation of £10 million from an anonymous donor. The money went towards the £100 million funding for the Francis Crick Institute in London,.
During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, CRUK closed its shops and cancel mass participation fundraising events. They predicted that this, coupled with economic uncertainty affecting people's ability or willingness to donate, would lead to a 30% fall in income that year and a reduction in income lasting at least 3 years.
In June 2011 Cancer Research UK was one of several health charities (along with the British Heart Foundation, the Alzheimer's Society and Parkinson's UK) targeted by the animal rights organisation Animal Aid in a series of advertisements in British newspapers urging members of the public to stop giving donations to organizations that fund medical research involving animal experiments.
In April 2017 the Information Commissioner's Office fined eleven charities that breached the Data Protection Act by misusing donors' personal data. Cancer Research UK was fined £16,000.