Current research into preventing cancer
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Saving lives through our research
Our scientists are working to uncover the causes of cancer and discover new ways to reduce people's risk of the disease. Below are some examples of what our researchers are doing right now.
Our current researchers
Cervical screening and HPV vaccination
Cervical screening and vaccination against HPV infection are effective ways of preventing cervical cancer, but not everyone takes up the invitations. Dr Jo Waller in London is trying to understand more about what influences women’s decisions to take part in cervical screening and why some parents don’t allow their children to have the HPV vaccine. Her aim is to increase informed participation in cervical screening and HPV vaccination and, ultimately, prevent more cervical cancer cases.
Preventing kidney cancer
In Belfast, Dr Blánaid Hicks is investigating what affects people’s risk of kidney cancer and if steps can be taken to prevent it. For example, some commonly used medications have been suggested to both increase the risk of developing the disease and protect against it. Dr Hicks is investigating these links in more detail. She is also looking at the effects of physical activity and obesity on people’s kidney cancer risk, and whether this differs between different ethnic groups.
Focusing on prostate cancer
In Bristol, Professor Richard Martin is working with scientists worldwide to find out if there are things men can do to lower their risk of prostate cancer. The team are studying the biology of 3,000 prostate tumours and linking this with other information such as patients’ lifestyles. He hopes to identify things that play a direct role in causing prostate cancer. This could lead to new ways to prevent the disease.
Professor Robert West in London is looking at what makes people take up smoking – and what helps them to quit. These insights could help develop better stop smoking services. He is also looking at the potential of using mobile apps and other digital technologies to support people to quit.
Identifying preventable causes of cancer
Professor Sir Mike Stratton and his team of scientists from around the world are building a deeper understanding of what causes DNA damage and how it leads to cancer. Their work could help prevent more cancers and reduce the global burden of this disease.