Early Detection Group Leader recognised as rising star with prestigious new award

We are delighted to announce that Dr Jamie Blundell, Group leader in the CRUK Cambridge Centre Early Detection Programme has been awarded a £1.2 million Future Leaders Fellowship by United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI). Research and Innovation Chief Executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport, said: “The Future Leaders Fellowships will enable the most promising researchers and innovators to become leaders in their fields, working on subjects as diverse as climate change, dementia and quantum computing.”

The £1.2 million Fellowship will enable Jamie to build a team focused on developing predictive “forecasts” of cancer risk from serial blood samples to detect cancer at its earliest stages.

When cancer is detected earlier, it is easier to treat successfully. How many years before diagnosis can you predict whether someone is destined to develop cancer? To address this question, Jamie and his team of clinicians, biologists and mathematicians will leverage serial blood samples, collected annually over a period of up to eleven years, from hundreds of thousands of initially healthy people. They will “zoom in” on those who went on to develop cancer, and “rewind” time by analysing the blood samples collected years before the cancer was diagnosed. Their goal is to use insights from these data to accelerate the development and commercialization of early cancer detection tests.

The prestigious Future Leaders Fellowships, launched in 2018 by UKRI, provide up to 7 years of flexible funding to the most talented researchers and innovators in any discipline to tackle challenging questions that will have global impact. Science Minister Chris Skidmore commented, “The Future Leaders Fellowships will enable the most promising researchers and innovators to become leaders in their fields, working on subjects as diverse as climate change, dementia and quantum computing”.