Research into the UK’s biggest cancer killer received a £1million funding boost in 2012.
The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation announced the first phase of its new research scheme, which will fund nine projects at universities across the UK.
Further funding for more projects will be announced in late 2013.
Despite being the biggest killer, lung cancer receives only 5%* of current cancer research funding but the charity hopes to significantly boost this over the next decade.
Consultant oncologist David Gilligan, from Addenbrookes and Papworth Hospitals in Cambridge, who is head of the charity’s grants committee, said: “Considering the fact it kills more people than any other cancer, lung cancer research is shockingly underfunded.
“We are delighted to be able to announce these new projects, which we hope will eventually make a real difference to how lung cancer is diagnosed and how patients are treated.
“None of this would be possible without the generous donations from the public and, in particular, the legacies we have received which fund one in three of all our research projects.”
The grants include the inaugural Rita Frost Award, which has been given to the University of Manchester, in memory of the mother of television presenter and singer Jenny Frost, who is a patron of the charity.
Jenny, who has raised more than £30,000 for the charity, said: “My Mum died in 2010 from lung cancer. She was only 60 and had never smoked in her life. We are supporting this research because we don’t want other families to have to go through what we’ve been through.
“The Rita Frost Award is looking into how lung cancer can be detected at an earlier stage when people can be treated and cured. It was too late for my Mum but it doesn’t have to be for other families.”
All the projects to be funded concentrate on either the early detection of lung cancer or improving the experiences of patients.
University of Southampton – a study looking at the health and well-being of lung cancer patients following surgery
University of Leicester- the project aims will attempt to identify mutations of key cancer genes through blood tests, which as well as helping diagnose lung cancer early could also inform what therapy the patient is then given
University College London- the project aims to identify changes to cheek cells, which could be an early sign of lung cancer.
University of Nottingham– the project investigates why more than a third of lung cancer patients are diagnosed following an emergency admission to hospital – the highest of any cancer.
Kings College London(sponsored by Medicash) – identifying abnormalities in the blood which could be an early sign of lung cancer
University of Manchester(The Rita Frost Award) – This project will search for markers in blood, which may be able to detect early stage lung cancer
2 x University of Liverpool –identifying people who are at especially high risk of developing lung cancer by using molecular genetic technologies and investigating biomarkers in cheek or nose tissues
University of Stirling- an early detection pilot study to see if people who present themselves to pharmacies for help in quitting smoking would benefit from early lung cancer screening