Jamie Blundell named as UKRI Future Leaders Fellow

Early Detection Group Leader is recognised as a rising star in science backed by Government funding.

Dr Jamie Blundell has been awarded a £1.2 million Future Leaders Fellowship by United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI).

The 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.

Jamie said: “Our vision is to combine evolutionary theory, maths and DNA sequencing of unique collections of serial blood samples to address the question How many years before diagnosis can you predict a lethal cancer?”

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 study 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 commercialisation of early cancer detection tests.

The funding for Jamie’s research is part of an investment by the Government of nearly £100 million to back the rising stars of science and innovative small businesses.

Of this, £78 million will be invested in 78 scientists and researchers through the government’s Future Leaders Fellowships scheme, supporting many of those working at the cutting edge of the next scientific discoveries.

23 Sep 2019