The UK’s National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) is winding down operations and working on identifying and securing assets.

The NCRI reported that it was becoming increasingly “unsustainable” to continue to fund the charitable organisation.

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The letter pinned by NCRI chair Fiona Driscoll stated that the charity met with its stakeholders to produce a strategy. However, the operations and funding models were not viable, which led to the NCRI board deciding to shut down the institute as the risk of operational failure was too great.

The letter also stated that the cancer research landscape in the UK has “matured significantly”. This is underpinned by the fact that cancer trials in the country have accounted for about a quarter of all trial activity in the UK, according to the GlobalData clinical trial database. However, the NCRI’s shutdown could lead to a decrease in the number of clinical trials or an increase in the timeframe of conducting these trials.

GlobalData is the parent company of Clinical Trials Arena.

The NCRI was established in 2001 following the publication of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) cancer plan in September 2000.

The initial purpose of the NCRI was to identify and contribute to areas of need within oncology research. They achieved this by publishing priority areas within oncology research, such as early detection and screening options.

NCRI has dedicated clinical trial units (CTUs) throughout the UK to expedite cancer trial activity. These CTUs have a specific remit to design, conduct, analyse, and publish clinical trials.

NCRI also maintains a database to track funding in cancer research. As per this database, NCRI partners spent £630m ($802m) on cancer research from 2019 to 2020.

Cancer Research UK is the other major UK-based charity that supports cancer research.