Tumour Epidemiology and Early Detection
There are numerous genetic risk factors which can significantly alter a person’s risk of developing cancer. Our research in the PGJCCR in this area brings together multidisciplinary researchers with expertise in the application of genetics, pathology (including molecular pathology) and molecular biological research methods. Our aims are to better understand the mechanisms that underpin predisposition to cancer amongst “at-risk” individuals and to better predict outcome for cancer patients. Our integrative approach is unique in that we consider environmental exposures, genetic constitution and behaviour in our studies of cancer risk, while combining this information with the genomic and/or molecular features of their tumour in studies of cancer survival or recurrence. Much of our work involves the identification of prognostic and predictive biomarkers related to these aims.
We conduct research pertaining to the early detection of cancer, including pre-cancerous conditions, transition from pre-cancer to cancer, and cancer recurrence. By gaining an understanding of the events that promote pre-cancerous conditions, cancer and cancer recurrences at the earliest possible point through our early detection research, we hope to enable opportunities for early interventions that could lead to improved survival.
Our researchers have particular strengths in breast and ovarian cancer, Barrett’s oesophagus and oesophageal adenocarcinoma, colorectal polyps and colorectal cancer, and prostate cancer.
Our group is strongly affiliated to the Cancer Epidemiology Research Group in the Centre for Public Health, and collaborates closely with colleagues in other centres, research and focus groups at Queen’s University Belfast, particularly the Precision Medicine/Molecular Pathology Centre (PGJCCR), and key infrastructure of the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry and Northern Ireland Biobank.