Any drug-discovery company would be pleased to have discovered 16 drug candidates in the last five years and have progressed six of these into early clinical trials. And any academic research institution would be thrilled to lead the world in finding cancer genes. The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in the UK can claim both of these achievements. These successes are just a sample of the ICR's accomplishments over its 100-year history, which also include linking smoking to cancer-causing DNA damage and developing many successful cancer-fighting drugs including melphalan, carboplatin and abiraterone. Such successes have placed the ICR atop the list of the UK's academic research centres, based on the results of the last Higher Education Funding Council's Research Assessment Exercise, and helped to rank the ICR among the top four cancer centres in the world.