Belfast Telegraph

QUB academic is behind report aiming 'to get to grips' with bowel cancer

By Mark Edwards

A 'groundbreaking report' led by a Queen's University Belfast professor has been published with the ambitious aim of ending bowel cancer.

The Critical Research Gaps Initiative report was pioneered by charity Bowel Cancer UK, which brought together more than 100 cancer experts and people living with cancer to develop it, outlining research gaps that currently exist for the disease.

Professor Mark Lawler, chair in Translational Cancer Genomics at Queen's University, led the team behind the report which has made a series of research recommendations, ranging from the need for better model systems to mimic the disease and the development of better prevention and screening approaches.

Mr Lawler said: "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.

"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 galvanised 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."

The report has been published in the January edition of health journal Gut.

Deborah Alsina, chief executive at Bowel Cancer UK, said: "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.

"This allows us to prioritise research to deliver the best possible outcomes for patients and prevent the disease from happening in the first place."

A bowel cancer research roadmap, developed in the report, will now inform research activities that will directly affect cancer patients.

Ed Goodall, a bowel cancer survivor from Northern Ireland, said: "This is a wonderful day for patients and survivors everywhere. The roadmap allows a focused research effort which can only benefit patients, people at risk of developing bowel cancer and society in general."

A national bowel cancer research conference will take place in London in April, bringing together experts to discuss how the findings of the report should be implemented to help patients.

Belfast Telegraph

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