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A photo of the stage of a microscope showing blue light shining onto a microscope slide

OxCODE's vision & Objectives

Cancer early detection has the potential to transform cancer care by preventing tumours from acquiring the characteristics of advanced malignancies. This opens the prospect of preventing malignant cancer, minimising therapeutic toxicity arising from treating established tumours and reducing the healthcare cost. It is also imperative not to over-treat individuals where the cancer trajectory will not lead to mortality or appreciable morbidity, allowing it to be left safely untreated. Thus, refined strategies for effective cancer early detection are essential, including the quantitative assessment of risk and the development of tests to define those people on malignant cancer trajectories.

The Oxford Centre for Early Cancer Detection's vision is to generate a Quantitative Risk Score - the ‘Oxford QR code’ – to enable personalised risk stratification for malignant cancer development. We will exploit Oxford’s early detection cohorts and apply our novel detection technologies to generate clinical imaging (e.g. MRI, endoscopy, digital pathology) and liquid biopsy-derived (e.g. nucleic acid, protein or metabolite) data. Integrative data analysis and modelling will be used to identify key parameters that contribute to the Quantitative Risk score to assist prognostic cancer early detection.


A schematic diagram outlining OxCODE's vision. We will use local cohorts (e.g. OxPLoreD, Translational Gastroenterology Unit, SCAN pathway), National cohorts (e.g. NCIMI, ProtecT, PathLAKE), National and international biobanks (e.g. UK Biobank, China Kadoorie Biobank) and National Healthcare Records (e.g. QResearch). These cohorts span a range of phenotyping depths and cohort sizes. To these cohorts, we will apply advanced imaging (e.g. pathology, computed tomography and endscopy) and liquid biopsy (e.g. metabolites, DNA, proteins) technologies to generate Oxford QR codes for risk stratification, identifying those at higher or lower risk.

OxCODE's objectives

  1. To galvanise and expand Oxford’s early cancer detection research community, bringing in more members and facilitating the creation of new synergistic collaborative partnerships.
  2. To increase the scale and scope of early cancer detection research at Oxford by supporting the acquisition of competitive external funding.
  3. To raise awareness of Oxford’s early cancer detection research activity and expertise to both internal and external audiences.