Gráinne Ní Ghréacháin, Editor.
Queen’s announced today that Professor Mark Lawler, who works at the university as chair in Translational Cancer Genomics, has developed a solution on how to end the cancer of the bowel. A cancer, according to Cancer Research UK, that begins in the colon and is otherwise known as colorectal cancer. In 2014, the organisation published figures which stated that ‘‘bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK’’ and is the ‘‘second most common cause of cancer death in the UK’’ in 2014.
The organisation Bowel Cancer UK established and initiated the ‘Critical Research Gaps Initiative’ which brought together ‘‘leading cancer scientists, healthcare professionals’’ as well as people living and dealing with the cancer to discuss the ‘‘key research gaps and priorities in bowel cancer research’’
Following this, a series of proposals were made, varying 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.’’
Professor Mark Lawler stressed the significance of these findings, stating ‘‘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 Chief Executive at Bowel Cancer UK, Deborah Alsina MBE, acknowledged ‘‘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 the research effort to deliver the best possible outcomes for patients and to prevent the disease from happening in the first place.’’
Furthermore, Northern Ireland native Ed Goodall, who suffered and survived bowel cancer stated, ‘‘This is a wonderful day for bowel cancer patients and survivors everywhere. The Roadmap that has been developed allows a focused research effort which can only benefit patients, people at risk of developing bowel cancer and society in general.’’
In addition, the project has created the ‘colorectal cancer research roadmap’ which ‘‘will inform research activities that will directly affect colorectal cancer patients.’’
As well as this, a ‘National colorectal cancer research conference’ will be established and will take place in April of this year in London. The aim of this gathering will be to ‘‘bring together key stakeholders in colorectal cancer research in the UK’’ and to ‘‘priorities how the recommendations of this initiative will best be implemented for the benefit of colorectal cancer patients.’’