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New £4.1 million cancer research programme announced

21 October 2015

A major new £4.1 million cancer research programme Integrative Cancer Epidemiology Programme (ICEP), funded by Cancer Research UK, is announced.

The five-year ICEP will use advances in genetics and molecular technology to understand the causes of the disease, and to inform the development of preventative interventions in people at risk of, or diagnosed with, cancer.

The programme will carry out research into identifying novel markers that accurately define cancer risk and prognosis by analysing large quantities of genetic data of populations. Led by scientists at Bristol’s MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit in the School of Social and Community Medicine, the team will work in collaboration with researchers at Bristol’s School for Clinical Sciences, the International Agency for Research on Cancer at Lyon, and the Universities of Manchester and Oxford.

Studies will include research into biomarker tests, which look at an individual’s genetics and their risk of developing the disease, and could help improve early diagnosis and our ability to tailor treatments to patients. Other studies will focus on finding out if it is possible to confidently identify aspects of diet or lifestyle or physiology, which if altered, could help reduce the risk of cancer or its progression. Research will drill down to the molecular level to investigate new ways of intervening to prevent cancer.

Professor Caroline Relton, Professor of Epigenetic Epidemiology, School of Social and Community Medicine and co-Director of the new ICEP programme said: “This exciting new programme of research will give us the opportunity to study the role of molecular factors in pathways that link our environment and lifestyle to cancer risk. This will not only improve our understanding of the mechanisms that cause cancer but also opens up the opportunity to develop ways to change these molecular factors and so prevent cancer in the future.”

Richard Martin, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology, School of Social and Community Medicine and co-Director of the new ICEP programme, said: “We aim to reduce the burden of cancer by conducting research that will identify risk factors and predictive tests that can help inform early diagnosis and improved treatment of some of the most prevalent cancers.”

Dr Ian Walker, Cancer Research UK’s director of Clinical Research and Strategic Partnerships, added: “Over 330,000 cancers are diagnosed each year in the UK. This is forecast to rise to more than 425,000 by 2030. More than 40 per cent of these cases are linked to a combination of 14 major lifestyle and other factors. This new programme of research will investigate the molecular epidemiology of cancer in an effort to reduce its impact on society.”

The interdisciplinary research programme involves 16 researchers across four schools at the University of Bristol, and investigators from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the Universities of Manchester and Oxford.

New £4.1 million cancer research programme announced
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