Cancer Research UK-funded scientists have discovered a new way to measure the success of experimental cancer treatments.
The method involves an imaging technique called positron emission tomography (PET) which reveals the levels of cancer drugs in healthy and cancerous tissues.
It can be used to determine the best dose of a new drug - one that destroys cancer cells but does not harm healthy tissue.
According to Eric Aboagye, lead author from Imperial College London, the new technique could provide a "significant boost" to scientists who are testing new drugs.
"We hope this will significantly reduce the costs of drug discovery - deciding to stop researching drugs that will be ineffective at an early stage could cut overall costs for drug discovery by up to seven per cent," he claimed.
Cancer Research UK supports more than 4,250 scientists, doctors and nurses in a bid to study all aspects of cancer.
The charity is the leading developer of new anti-cancer treatments in Europe and spent a total of £344 million on scientific research in 2007/08.