The Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University, a leader in precision cancer medicine, and Cancer Research UK, the largest independent funder of cancer research globally, formed an international collaboration in 2016 to accelerate research in the early detection of cancer.

This year, we are delighted to welcome the Canary Center at Stanford to our partnership. The Canary Center was founded in 2009 as the first research center in the world entirely dedicated to cancer early detection.

The goal of this unique trans-Atlantic agreement is to find lethal cancers as they’re forming so they can be treated more effectively. Survival increases significantly when the disease is treated at an early stage.

The collaboration also seeks to accelerate progress by breaking down barriers for scientists, including:

  • A lack of cohorts of sufficient size and a shortage of clinical samples available for research
  • Development and deployment of new technologies
  • Lack of understanding of the biology of early cancer and technologies to detect its features

2018 conference topic list includes:

  • Enabling Early Detection Through Early Disease Models
  • Population Risk Stratification for Early Detection; Discovery to Implementation
  • The Signatures of Early and Pre-Cancer; Predictive Early Detection
  • Data Science for Early Detection
  • Novel Technology Accelerating Early Detection

“The full potential of precision cancer medicine will only be realized when it is coupled with a sophisticated early-detection effort. We need to develop tests that distinguish slow and non-lethal cancers from more dangerous malignancies. We are committed to uniting researchers worldwide and ensuring the next generation of cancer detection becomes a reality.”

Brian Druker, M.D.Director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute

“The Canary Center at Stanford is committed to fundamental discovery and translation of novel early cancer detection and prognostication strategies. We believe the merger of in vitro diagnostics with in vivo molecular imaging will be the way in which the early cancer detection problem will eventually be solved. We have brought together scientists, physicians, and engineers to think out of the box, dream, and take risks that may not lead to solutions for many years. We remain committed to making a difference in helping generations yet to come in leading healthier and more fulfilling lives.”

Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, M.D., Ph.D.Director of the Canary Center at Stanford for Cancer Early Detection

"The development of novel early detection approaches for cancer is inherently difficult with many barriers to overcome. Cancer Research UK has recognized that in order to build and catalyze this nascent field, we must work collaboratively to create new insights in early detection biology from which new detection methods will come. We're proud to be partnering with the Knight Cancer Institute and the Canary Institute to raise the profile of early detection research and, together, develop a critical mass of talent for this long-term endeavor."

Iain Foulkes, Ph.D.Executive Director of Strategy and Research Funding at Cancer Research UK


The collaboration is hosting their third annual international conference, bringing together leaders in early detection as well as top scientists and innovators in cancer research and bioengineering.

The 2018 conference will build upon the previous two conferences organized by Cancer Research UK and OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. This year, they are joining forces with the Canary Center at Stanford to further develop a global network of experts dedicated to collaboratively accelerating discovery.

The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute is deeply committed to this area of cancer research. In June 2015, the institute announced that it had raised £660 million ($1 billion) to devote to precision cancer medicine, chiefly early detection. The money — including a £300 million ($500 million) gift from Nike co-founder Phil Knight and his wife, Penny ― enabled the institute to begin recruiting top researchers, and to speed construction of a research building and cancer clinic.

Cancer Research UK invests about £330 million ($500 million) every year into research across all cancer types. Its extensive expertise and infrastructure, as well as its close ties to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, make it ideally situated to lead efforts in the United Kingdom.

The Canary Center at Stanford is fully committed to cancer early detection and prognostication. Founded in 2009 through a unique alliance between the Canary Foundation and the Stanford University School of Medicine, Department of Radiology, they devoted tens of millions of dollars specifically to early cancer detection research and recruitment of top faculty.


  • The Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University is a pioneer in the field of precision cancer medicine.
  • The institute’s director, Brian Druker, M.D., helped prove it was possible to shut down just the cells that enable cancer to grow. This breakthrough has made once-fatal forms of the disease manageable and transformed how cancer is treated.
  • The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center between Sacramento and Seattle – an honor earned only by the nation’s top cancer centers.
  • It is headquarters for one of the National Cancer Institute’s largest research collaboratives, SWOG, in addition to offering the latest treatments and technologies as well as hundreds of research studies and clinical trials.

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  • The Canary Center at Stanford is the first research center in the world entirely dedicated to cancer early detection.
  • It was founded in 2009 through a unique alliance between the Canary Foundation, the Department of Radiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, and the Stanford Cancer Institute (a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center).
  • Canary Center’s mission is to discover and implement minimally invasive diagnostic and imaging strategies for the detection and localization of aggressive cancers at early curable stages.
  • Its multidisciplinary research teams integrate the development of in vitro diagnostic tests and in vivo molecular imaging approaches to identify and characterize early cancers.

To stay up-to-date with Canary Center at Stanford’s work, follow us on Twitter.


  • Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research.
  • Cancer Research UK’s pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives.
  • Cancer Research UK receives no government funding for its life-saving research. Every step it makes towards beating cancer relies on every pound donated.
  • Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival rates in the UK double in the last forty years.
  • Today, 2 in 4 people in the UK survive cancer for at least 10 years. Cancer Research UK’s ambition is to accelerate progress so that 3 in 4 people will survive cancer within the next 20 years.
  • Cancer Research UK supports research into all aspects of cancer through the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses, based in CRUK Centres and Institutes across the UK.
  • Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK’s vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.

For more information, browse Cancer Research UK’s early detection research strategy and funding opportunities. To stay up-to-date with Cancer Research UK’s work, subscribe to our Research Update newsletter, or follow us on Twitter.