$12 million funding boost for colon cancer research

A team from the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Cancer Research has just secured $12 million in research funding from the prestigious National Institutes for Health in the US.

Professor Mark Jenkins (University of Melbourne’s School of Population and Global Health) and his research group (including Associate Professor Dan Buchanan and Dr. Aung Win) will be leading the next five years of the Colon Cancer Family Registry Cohort, an international collaboration established to gather information about who develops colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon and rectum), who doesn’t and how to use genetics and lifestyle factors to identify those at high risk of the disease.

Between 1998 and 2012 more than 40,000 participants were recruited from over 15,000 families in the Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada. Participants include recently-diagnosed cases of colorectal cancer and their relatives with no indication of disease at the time of participation, some of whom have a strong family history of colorectal cancer.

Every four to five years, all participants are followed up and re-surveyed to update their cancer history. So far more than 37,000 participants have been resurveyed. Since recruitment, more than 800 participants have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer and more than 3500 were diagnosed with other cancers.

Also, in the same round, the Breast Cancer Family Registry was refunded based at Columbia University, with John Hopper leading the Australian arm through University of Melbourne.

Each of these registries has now received 25 years of continual NIH funding which is a credit to their value to cancer research contributed by the 100,000 cohort participants.