A groundbreaking report, led by Professor Mark Lawler, Chair in Translational Cancer Genomics at Queen’s University Belfast highlights a plan to end bowel cancer, the second most common cause of cancer death in Europe. The report has been published in the January edition of top international journal Gut (http://gut.bmj.com/).
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.
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.
Highlighting the importance of the report Professor 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.”
Emphasising the importance of this research for bowel cancer patients, Deborah Alsina MBE, 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 the research effort to deliver the best possible outcomes for patients and to prevent the disease from happening in the first place.”
Speaking from the patient’s perspective, Ed Goodall, a bowel cancer survivor from Northern Ireland said, “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.”
Professor Lawler added, “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.”
The colorectal cancer research roadmap that has been developed through this initiative will inform research activities that will be directly affect colorectal cancer patients.
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 prioritize how the recommendations of this initiative will best be implemented for the benefit of colorectal cancer patients.