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UK report highlights plan to end bowel cancer

Thu, 01/18/2018 - 11:22
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The colorectal cancer research roadmap that has been developed through this initiative will inform research activities that will be directly affect colorectal cancer patients

A report led by Professor Mark Lawler, Chair in Translational Cancer Genomics at Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland, plans to end bowel cancer, the second most common cause of cancer death in Europe. The report, ‘Critical research gaps and recommendations to inform research prioritisation for more effective prevention and improved outcomes in colorectal cancer’, was published in the January edition of the journal Gut.

The ‘Critical Research Gaps Initiative’ report was pioneered by the charity Bowel Cancer UK, who brought together over 100 cancer experts and people living with cancer to develop it, outlining the critical research gaps that currently exist for this common disease.

The paper examined clinical gaps in colorectal cancer (CRC) research including discovery science; risk; prevention; early diagnosis and screening; pathology; curative treatment; stage IV disease; and living with and beyond CRC.

"This report provides us with a real opportunity to get to grips with a disease that kills nearly 16,000 people in the UK each year,” Professor Lawler. “Identifying the critical research gaps and developing tangible solutions is a key step forward in what is becoming an international effort. Bowel Cancer UK showed the vision and leadership to initiate this work – it is now incumbent on all of us to work together to deliver a vision of a world without bowel cancer. The publication of this report has galvanized the scientific and clinical communities to come together and work in a more collaborative way. It also provides a blueprint for research funders to concentrate resources where they are really needed."

A series of research recommendations, ranging from the need for better model systems to mimic the disease, the development of better prevention and screening approaches, to the requirement for innovative treatment options, are highlighted in the report, providing a blueprint to help end this deadly disease.

The colorectal cancer research roadmap that has been developed through this initiative will inform research activities that will be directly affect colorectal cancer patients.

"The Critical Research Gaps Initiative has been a key focus for us over the last two years and its publication in a top international journal is a landmark event,” said Deborah Alsina, Chief Executive at Bowel Cancer UK. “This allows us to prioritise the research effort to deliver the best possible outcomes for patients and to prevent the disease from happening in the first place."

“In this position paper, we present the informed considerations of a wide-ranging multidisciplinary group of experts from UK-based research institutions, complemented by significant input from those affected by CRC…Prioritisation of CRC research activity, supported by effective policy decisions and appropriate resource allocations, will help us tackle this life-threatening, debilitating disease that kills ~800 000 of our citizens globally each year,” the paper concludes.

One of the first outcomes will be the development of a national colorectal cancer research conference which will take place in London in April 2018, which will bring together key stakeholders in colorectal cancer research in the UK to prioritise how the recommendations of this initiative will best be implemented for the benefit of colorectal cancer patients.

To access this paper, please click here