Latest data reveals that partners of the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) reduced bone cancer research investment by 43% to a 16-year low in 2017 / 2018. Of the £639.7million spent during the period, just £242,894 (0.04%) was directed specifically to bone cancer.

Partners of the NCRI include; Cancer Research UK, Department of Health & Social Care, Wellcome Trust, Marie Curie, Macmillan Cancer Support amongst others. These organisations signify the 'major' charities investing in research in the UK. Overall investment in 2017 / 2018 dropped 5% compared to the previous year, however, bone cancer specific investment dropped 43% and had the 5th highest cancer specific reduction compared to the previous year and is the lowest direct investment in 16 years.

Frustratingly, the downward trend seen from the NCRI partners is not true for all rarer forms of cancer where some have seen year on year increases. Last year, neuroblastoma received 1063% more funding than bone cancer despite having a 67% 5-year survival rate and 95 new cases in the UK per year, this was the second year that investment increased for neuroblastoma.

The largest invested form of cancer last year was breast cancer, receiving £44.4million. Breast cancer currently has a 5-year survival rate of 86%, a figure what has risen in recent decades thanks to research investment. Based on current UK incidence rates, breast cancer patents received twice as much research funding compared to bone cancer patients, a truly disproportionate figure when you also consider survival rates.

So how much research spend was put to bone cancer?

The below chart demonstrates, in comprehensible amounts, how much research spend was put to bone cancer in 2017 / 2018 by the NCRI members. For every £100 spent on research, NCRI partners spend just 4p on bone cancer, by comparison for every £100 the Bone Cancer Research Trust spent on research, 100% went into bone cancer.

Of these latest figures our Head of Research & Information, Dr Zoe Davison, said:

These figures are truly disappointing. Research is crucial to the development of new treatments for primary bone cancer. Without increased and prolonged investment, more patients will continue to suffer and lose their lives to this brutal disease. Our commitment to working with others to increase bone cancer research investment continues and we are delighted to be working with Children with Cancer UK, a NCRI member, who share our view that investment must increase in order to save more lives. We will continue to try and work with other organisations to influence increased spend in this area. In the meantime, with the support of our community, we will continue to invest as much as we possibly can into research for our patients.

How do we compare to NCRI members?

Last year the Bone Cancer Research Trust spent £606,041 on pioneering research (Vs. £242,894 from NCRI members) and overall we committed £973,844 to research based on successful progression of funded projects - that's 301% more than the NCRI partners spent combined in 2017 / 2018!

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