Can we be positive about cancer advances in 2023?

Dr Lennard Lee- Opinion Editorial (UK COVID/cancer clinical lead)

The world has celebrated the New Year after 2 years of unprecedented upheaval. Many of us have faced significant challenges and the UK has faced a difficult 12 months.
 
However, can we be optimistic about the future of cancer in 2023?

We believe we can be. Here’s my top 4️⃣ reasons why.
 
✅ 1️⃣👍 Unexpected pandemic dividends
 
The UK invested hundreds of millions into the Life Sciences Sector to deliver successful programmes like our vaccine programme. People have increased their skills, institutions have upgraded and processes transformed. This UK sector is thriving and routinely delivers hyper-accelerated research. The Oxford vaccine trial recruited 32,000 people in 10 months. The Pfizer-BioNTech trial recruited 43,000 people in 5 months. These are unexpected dividends, capabilities that will drive patient benefit in 2023.
 
✅ 2️⃣ 🖥 Healthcare Digitalisation

Progress in the digitalisation of healthcare is happening at pace across the NHS. Healthcare datasets are available to improve patient care. Access to world-class population-scale cancer datasets from our single healthcare system is now possible, as demonstrated by the success of the UK COVID Cancer programme. The UK showed that chemotherapy can be safely delivered in the pandemic and this changed global cancer care. Healthcare digitalisation delivers significant efficiencies and much more rapid insight.

The UK COVID CANCER Programme showed that chemotherapy can be safely delivered in the pandemic and this changed global cancer care. In 2023, healthcare digitalisation will deliver significant efficiencies and much more rapid insight.
 

Dr Lennard Lee


 
✅ 3️⃣ 👩‍🚀 Trials Innovations

Clinical innovation has been unleashed across our cancer networks. Decentralised trials, virtualisation, real-time analytics, artificial intelligence and adaptive trials are now part of routine practice. As an example of capabilities, the NHS-Galleri study, that assesses a new genomic blood test for cancer has been provided to 140,000 people in just over 10 months. There are many examples of similar successes bringing diagnostics and treatments more rapidly to NHS patients and this is promising.
 
✅ 4️⃣ ⭕ Partnerships
 
The UK is strongly signalling that we open for partnerships and collaboration to achieve better outcomes for people affected by cancer. New ways of working developed by Dame Kate Bingham will secure investment for UK cancer patients, in areas like cancer vaccines and beyond. Partnerships will expedite technology advancement and benefit patients sooner than ever before.

Partnerships will expedite technology advancement and benefit patients sooner than ever before.



🤨 🧐 🙄

Admittedly, none of the 4 reasons will guarantee success. More people than ever are being referred for cancer diagnostics, waiting times have increased and there are staffing issues still have to be addressed.

⏩ 😁😁 ✅ 😁😁 ⏭
 
However, if you look beyond the short-term Winter squeeze and pressures, cancer patients and the Life Sciences sector have good reason to be positive. If the opportunities are seized, as a country, we will be able to deliver transformative change for cancer patients in the next 12 months….