The International Alliance for Cancer Early Detection (ACED) is a partnership between Cancer Research UK, Canary Center at Stanford University, the University of Cambridge, the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, UCL, and the University of Manchester. The ambition of this new transatlantic research alliance is to develop radical new strategies and technologies to detect cancer at its earliest stage.

Early detection is essential to help more people beat cancer – a patient’s chance of surviving their disease improves dramatically when cancer is found and treated earlier. Previously, researchers taking on this important challenge have faced many barriers, including lack of funding and collaboration opportunities. By combining the ‘fire power’ of some of the top early detection research centers in the world, ACED aims to accelerate breakthroughs, leading to quicker benefits for patients.

Scientists in the Alliance will work together at the forefront of technological innovation to translate research into realistic ways to improve cancer early detection, which can be implemented into health systems. Potential areas of research include:

  • Developing new improved imaging techniques and robotics, to detect early tumors and pre-cancerous lesions
  • Increasing understanding of how the environment surrounding a tumor influences cancer development
  • Developing less invasive and simpler detection techniques such as blood, breath and urine tests, which can monitor patients who are at a higher risk of certain cancers
  • Searching for early stress signals sent out from tumors or surrounding damaged tissue as a new indication of cancer
  • Looking for early signs of cancer in surrounding tissue and fluids to help diagnose hard to reach tumors
  • Harnessing the potential of artificial intelligence and big data to look for signs of cancer that are undetectable to humans


"Continued greater investments into early cancer detection and prognostication
are needed worldwide and this new alliance will bring great opportunities
for truly transformative approaches to be jointly conceived, tested, and deployed.

Our greatest chances in winning the war against cancer lie in tackling
the front-end of the cancer problem and not after
cancer is more widespread and heterogeneous."

- Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, MD, PhD
Virginia and D. K. Ludwig Professor of Cancer Research
Chair, Department of Radiology
ACED lead at Stanford University