Blood Cancer UK used NCRI Cancer Research Database (CaRD) data to inform their research strategy, to set a plan for beating blood cancer.

NCRI has been collecting research funding data since 2002 to understand how funds are distributed across various areas of research and identify any gaps.

  • £1.3Bn total spend analysed*
  • 2,678 awards analysed

Blood Cancer UK used the CaRD database to look at the historic spend in blood cancer research to understand if there were any significant gaps either by blood cancer type, in adult vs childhood cancer, location or research type. Blood Cancer UK and the NCRI re-categorised the data to include some additional categories:

  • Leukaemia
    • ALL (Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia)
    • AML (Acute myeloid leukaemia)
    • CLL (Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia)
    • CML (Chronic myeloid leukaemia)
    • Multiple leukaemia’s
    • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Myeloma
  • MPN (Myeloproliferative neoplasms)
  • MDS (Myelodysplastic syndromes)
  • Multiple blood cancers
  • Other cancer (inc. blood cancers)
  • Cancer and other diseases

The process of data categorisation highlighted some challenges, as research can often impact multiple cancer types. For example, historically, leukaemia has received a significant amount of funding, but researchers can often apply findings from studies in leukaemia to other blood cancers or may use a ‘leukaemia model’ to test myeloma and lymphoma drugs.

Findings included:

  • AML has received the most significant historical funding, yet relative five-year survival rates remain one of the lowest across blood cancers. Blood Cancer UK explain some of the background of this here.
  • Childhood ALL has received significant historical funding, with substantial changes to ALL childhood survival rates seen over the years.
  • Funding is more heavily concentrated in the South East of England – although this is not specific to blood cancer and consistent with all medical research spend.

The NCRI CaRD database helped us visualise trends across blood cancer research funding and identify further questions to interrogate the blood cancer funding landscape.

Siân Morgan, Research Strategy Manager, Blood Cancer UK

The CaRD data provided a platform for Blood Cancer UK’s strategy discussions and highlighted the complexities in blood cancer data and categorisation. As a result, Blood Cancer UK are working to create a better balance across their funding portfolio and are emphasising the interconnectivity of blood cancer research. Moving forward, their Research Funding Committee will consider the spread of projects recommended for funding within a given grant funding call.

You can visit Blood Cancer UK’s website to view their research strategy.

*43% of the spend analysed was spending on projects researching more than one cancer, including blood cancer