Aberdeen scientist joins global initiative to battle cancer

Aberdeen scientist joins global initiative to battle cancer

A University of Aberdeen scientist has been selected to join more than 350 cancer researchers from prominent institutions in 31 countries, in the first global initiative of its kind that hopes to tackle cancer’s complexity.

The Halifax Project is a year-long Non-Governmental Organisation project which aims to develop a new approach to cancer therapy, and assess the role everyday exposures to mixtures of commonly encountered chemicals, have to play in causing cancer.

Dr Janice Drew from the University’s Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health will provide her expertise in assessing the links between dietary and lifestyle choices and cancer, within the project.

Dr Drew said: “The project brings together leading global experts to work collaboratively to progress understanding of how we can tackle cancer before it is diagnosed, during treatment and also post treatment, to avoid its recurrence.

“My focus within the initiative will be to investigate links between diet and lifestyle choices and cancer risk to identify the cellular pathways within the body that become deregulated in cases of cancer

“Identification of such pathways could pave the way for improved combinations oftreatments to combat cancer more effectively and avoid the problems encountered with focused treatments that are often ineffective in certain individuals or lead to recurrence in the future.”

Dr Drew will work within one of 12 teams of scientists that will each be focused on a different aspect of cancer biology. 

The teams will spend the next year reviewing what is currently known about cancer’s complexity to design a ground-breaking “broad-spectrum” therapeutic approach to cancer treatment.

Keith I. Block, the Medical and Scientific Director of the Block Centre for Integrative Cancer Treatment in Skokie, Illinois who is also involved in the project said: “For far too long, our mainstream model for treating cancer has been erroneously focused on mostly single intervention strategies. Because for the past several decades it was felt that if the Achilles heel of the disease could be discovered, and that a treatment could be found that would eradicate the one underlying defect responsible for promoting and driving malignant disease. 

“However, we have since learned that cancer is a far more complex disorder with not one, but multiple defects. To overcome these defects – and be genuinely successful – an innovative, multi-pronged and multi-targeted approach to treatment is essential,”

“While we have worked quietly over many years on growing this multi-dimensional treatment model, the “Halifax Project” represents the first global initiative that involves the collaboration of a large number of the very best cancer scientists and researchers from around the world. Our team’s objective is to further evolve a comprehensive treatment model with less toxic and more innovative therapies, with the ultimate goal of eradicating cancer.”

For more information visit www.gettingtoknowcancer.org/