Cluster Early Detection and Minimally Invasive Techniques

Onderzoeker / wetenschapper met pipet en microscoop in laboratorium

In order to start a timely and personalized treatment, early detection of cancer is crucial. Preferably using non-invasive  techniques. In this cluster, we will develop several tracks to improve diagnostic and treatment possibilities.




Advancement of biomarkers into daily practice  

Research into biomarkers is currently scattered, causing a problem with scalability to generate insights. Also, there is unnecessary overlap. This track focuses on further development, validation and implementation of biomarker research towards clinical practice. We wish to connect researchers with partners and experts needed for these steps. For more information on funding in this track, see our biomarker call page.

In 2023, we funded 4 projects in the call Advancement of Biomarkers to Daily Practice.


Risk-based screening

We aim to stimulate early detection strategies based on cancer risk. Some individuals have an increased risk of cancer, for example because of health behaviour or hereditary and environmental factors. Risk groups should be offered appropriate screening; both in terms of screening frequency as well as screening methods. 

In 2023, we funded an infrastructure project on genetic cancer risk.


Molecular diagnostics for precision oncology 

This track aims to apply precision oncology: targeted treatment based on molecular characteristics of the tumor (e.g., DNA or protein expression); prevention of over treatment; and apply precision oncology for the appropriate patient groups. We will achieve maximum impact by applying this knowledge in groups in which molecular diagnostics may have a clinically significant added value. An additional goal is to scale up application of molecular diagnostics. This can decrease unequal access to treatment options. 

This track is aimed at all phases of precision oncology, from finding candidate techniques to implementation. 


Smart measurement technology

The goal of this track is to stimulate further development and clinical implementation of smart measurement technology, in order to enable diagnosis and monitoring of cancer patients in the least invasive way. Further information on funding options in this track can be found here 

In 2023 KWF funded 4 research projects in this track.
In 2022, we funded 4 research projects in the first thematic call in this track.


Data and infrastructure 

In order to improve medical AI models or to explain heterogeneity in treatment outcomes we need accessible and structured data. Therefore, this tracks aims at investing in large-scale biobanks, databases and imaging data. These data sets should be easy to analyze, be interoperable and to be updated periodically by experts.