World Cancer Day 2021 - Together all our actions matter


Improving diagnosis

In 2020, we joined a group of specialists to produce the first publication of UK guidelines that will improve early diagnosis and treatment for patients with Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma. The Guidelines offer a structured approach to support clinicians with early diagnosis and successful treatment, outlining the presenting signs and symptoms, new detailed guidance for imaging and how best to investigate and treat BIA-ALCL. The National Guidelines also aim to raise awareness and educate all UK healthcare professionals about this new type of cancer in order to improve early diagnosis to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients.

We joined forces across the UK to improve the diagnosis of lung cancer and thoracic diseases using a combination of data and artificial intelligence for the first time. Working with the NHS England Lung Health Check programme as part of the DART AI research programme, clinical, imaging and molecular data has been combined for the first-time using AI algorithms with the aim of more accurately and quickly diagnosing and characterising lung cancer, meaning patients can avoid more invasive procedures and can start the right treatment for their specific type of cancer at an earlier stage. Algorithms have been developed to better evaluate risks from comorbidities such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).


Thanks to research carried out by our academic partner, The Institute of Cancer Research, a new drug called Fadraciclib could transform the treatment of aggressive neuroblastoma in young patients at The Royal Marsden. 

Fadraciclib offers new hope to children with aggressive neuroblastoma, according to ground-breaking laboratory research carried out by our academic partner The Institute of Cancer Research. The drug is considered to be a less toxic treatment than existing therapies and a game changer for aggressive forms of neuroblastoma. 

Our response to COVID-19

Alongside RM Partners, we designed and led a new cancer surgical hub, the first in the UK, to provide patients from 10 Trusts across London continued access to lifesaving treatment during COVID-19. 

In May 2020, The Royal Marsden hub operated on over 761 patients from 10 Trusts across London. This has increased to over 1454 patients to date, whose surgery would not have been possible without the Cancer Hub.

The Hub ensures NHS hospitals continue to deliver as much cancer treatment as possible across the capital, with an initial focus on surgery, which requires critical care beds.

It has also supported hospitals across the NHS and independent sector to work together to maximise capacity and ensure that people receive the treatment that they need.

How we're keeping children's cancer trials going

The Covid-19 pandemic has meant changes to the way we operate clinical trials at The Royal Marsden. Although recruitment to our paediatric trials was paused at the start of lockdown in March, the team in the Oak Paediatric and Adolescent Drug Development Unit worked tirelessly to ensure trials got back on track safely. A key focus was to ensure the collection of valuable tissue samples for research, including the Stratified Medicine Paediatrics (SMPaeds) programme, was started. SMPaeds enables experts to allocate young patients to early-phase trials based on molecular targets alongside their knowledge of the disease.