Taskforce that ran the Covid-19 vaccine rollout to tackle a new cancer inoculation – The Telegraph

A vaccine for cancer is to be sought by a new taskforce set up to emulate the success of the Vaccine Taskforce (VTF) which delivered the world’s first Covid jab. 
The Government has announced £113 million to set up groups to tackle four of the biggest health challenges facing Britain – cancer, obesity, mental health and addiction. 
Each will be led by an independent expert in the same way that Kate Bingham took charge of the VTF, which became a hugely successful part of the Government’s pandemic response. 
The cancer mission will be given £22.5 million to develop new cancer vaccines and immune-based therapies. Funding will also be used to develop new ways to diagnose the condition earlier. 
Dr Ian Walker, Executive Director of Policy, Information and Communications at Cancer Research UK, said: “The Cancer Mission is an important step to put research at the heart of the UK’s efforts to beat cancer. 
“It is great to see funding committed to accelerate research that shows promise in detecting and diagnosing cancer earlier, and treating cancer more precisely.”
The Government has said it intends to harness world-leading research expertise and remove unnecessary bureaucracy. 
Steve Barclay, the Health and Social Care Secretary, said: “Conditions such as cancer and obesity prevent people leading long, healthy lives and cost the NHS billions of pounds every year.
“By harnessing the same spirit of innovation that delivered the vaccine rollout and working hand in hand with the NHS, industry and healthcare experts, we’re building a stronger, healthier NHS.”
The £20 million obesity taskforce will look into new medicines which promise to reduce weight by 20 per cent, as well as technology to encourage healthier lifestyles. 
A further £40.2 million will be used to develop technology to improve mental health such as allowing patients to monitor themselves at home and instantly report to a doctor if they need help. 
It is estimated that obesity costs the NHS £6.1 billion a year, while poor mental health costs the economy £118 billion a year.
The final mission will see £30.5 million spent on ways to prevent addictions, including testing wearable devices which can detect a drug overdose and signal emergency services. 
Oliver Standing, Director at Collective Voice, said: “Whilst many effective interventions do currently exist to reduce harm and develop recovery, research into new approaches is needed. 
“In funding research on the next generation of interventions it is essential the Mission builds its work around the experiences of people who use drugs and looks at the full spectrum of approaches."
The four healthcare missions will be led by an independent chair – an expert in that field – to accelerate the development and introduction of the latest treatments and technology into the NHS, and improve outside collaboration
The chairs will be appointed by an expert panel including Kate Bingham, who headed up the Vaccine Taskforce.
Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, said: “The highly successful Vaccine Taskforce, which procured millions of life-saving vaccines in record time during the pandemic, will now become a blueprint for how we harness the best talent and expertise from around the world and drive investment in research and development."
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