Cancer research is a rapid evolving field. Year on year, we have new understanding of cancer biology, new drugs and new technology. Harnessing these to improve the prevention, early detection and cure of cancer is the implementation challenge and the gap from discovery and innovations to clinical benefits will require collaborations between scientist and clinicians, between academia and industry, and regional and international collaborations. While the exciting advancement of targeted therapies and more recently therapies harnessing the immune system have significantly changed the outcomes of cancer, there is rising concern about the cost in achieving these gains. Ability to personalised treatment to deliver the right treatment to the right patient to maximise benefit, and a better understanding of processes in early cancer development and better early detection so that we can potentially eradicate cancers are two important areas of developments. In this regard, the joint symposium between the National University of Singapore and Cambridge University represents an important effort. The themes chosen, in the area of technology for early cancer detection, cancer stem cells, liquid biopsies for precision medicine and advanced cancer imaging reflect our collective strength and interest. Successful collaborations in these areas will certainly have impact on our cancer patients.