Skip to main content
Patient in a diagnostic scanner
Southampton Clinical Trials Unit (SCTU)

Early diagnosis

Finding new ways to detect diseases early when treatment is more likely to be successful.

Early diagnosis is a key priority in healthcare research, for the Government, for Cancer Research UK, and for our other research funders.

Detecting diseases like cancer and heart disease at an early stage means treatment is more likely to be successful. In fact, for many common cancers survival triples when diagnosed at an early stage (source: Cancer Research UK).

At the Southampton Clinical Trials Unit we have a dedicated team working on clinical trials to improve early diagnosis through innovative research. 

Examples of our early diagnosis trials


A 20,000-patient primary care based study to determine which symptoms and examinations may be the best predictors for lung and bowel cancer. This trial is closed to recruitment and now in follow-up.


This pilot study has shown that two simple tests could potentially be used to diagnose pancreatic cancer at an earlier stage in those at high-risk of the disease. We are now working on the next phase of this research, DEPEND 2. 

Read more about the DEPEND study.

iDx Lung

This award-winning study is looking at ways to detect lung cancer in its early stages. 

Catching lung cancer early: the iDx Lung trial

The iDx Lung trial is a ground-breaking and award-winning collaboration between Southampton Clinical Trials Unit, the University of Leeds and healthcare and diagnostic companies. It aims to find new ways to detect lung cancer at an early stage, when it is more treatable.

Read our news story about the iDx Lung trial

Finding new ways to diagnose lung cancer earlier

Hear about our ground-breaking research trial being carried out by the Cancer Research UK Southampton Clinical Trials Unit at the University of Southampton and the University of Leeds

The early diagnosis team

We have a distinct team within SCTU to design and run our early diagnosis studies. We have developed collaborative links with primary care via a NIHR Fellowship at SCTU, and to the Southampton Rapid Diagnosis Centre.

Through the iDx Lung trial we have also developed a close working model with the local NIHR Clinical Research Network (Wessex CRN). This includes collaborative working to operate the trial van, recruitment, and community-based sample collection. 

Contact the early diagnosis team

For enquiries about early diagnosis studies, in the first instance please contact: