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Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit

The Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit is the largest academic cancer drug discovery and development group worldwide. Its research teams cover every aspect of new drug discovery and development, from cell and molecular biology through to chemical synthesis of new agents and their evaluation in clinical trials.

The mission of the CRUK Cancer Therapeutics Unit is:

  • To discover and develop effective therapeutics for the treatment of cancer
  • Exploit the addictions, dependencies and vulnerabilities of cancer cells to develop innovative small molecule drugs
  • Prioritise novelty and unmet clinical need in defined patient populations

Centre for Cancer Drugs Discovery building

Image: The CRUK Cancer Therapeutics Unit is based in the ICR's new Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery

Since 2005:

  • 21 clinical candidates discovered
  • 12 of those drug candidates have entered clinical trials

The ICR also discovered abiraterone, which was approved by NICE in 2012, and is widely used to treat advanced prostate cancer


Find out more about the CRUK Cancer Therapeutics Unit

Research themes

In order to support our mission, the Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics research and drug development has been aligned into four research themes.

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Teams and team leaders

Find out which teams and team leaders make up our Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit.

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Where our new drug targets come from

We use a number of approaches to identify new drug targets with novel mechanisms of action, including functional genomics or compound libraries that target protein degradation.

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