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Colorectal Cancer Research Team to meet in St. John's

Ref. No. 160

DATE:     June 19, 2002
SUBJECT:     Colorectal Cancer Research Team to meet in St. John's

The first annual meeting of the Colorectal Cancer Interdisciplinary Health Research Team will be held in St. John's June 24-26. This will be the first time both teams, from Memorial University and the University of Toronto, will meet face-to-face and discuss the progress of the past year. About 20 people from the Toronto group will be in town to meet with their counterparts in Newfoundland to discuss progress and strategies for the upcoming year.

The Colorectal Cancer Study is being financed by a $5 million grant over five years from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The Newfoundland share of the funding, which is over $2 million, includes an allocation to enhance the ability of our researchers to study the impact of colorectal cancer, such as by improving the ability of the cancer registry at the Newfoundland Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation to rapidly collect information about newly diagnosed cancer.

One highlight of the week's activities is a talk by Dr. Mary Jane Esplen, a scientist of the National Cancer Institute of Canada, on the psychosocial and behavioural impact of genetic testing for cancer predisposition. The talk takes place at 3 p.m. Tuesday June 25 in Lecture Theatre A of the medical school, Health Sciences Centre. Dr. Esplen is head of the program of psychosocial and psychotherapy research in cancer genetics at the University of Toronto.

Dr. John McLaughlin is the principal investigator for the study in Toronto where he heads up the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatics at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute; the principal investigators for the study at Memorial are Dr. Pat Parfrey, clinical epidemiologist and nephrologist, and Dr. Ban Younghusband, molecular geneticist.

"This collaboration between Memorial University and the University of Toronto brings together many of the leading colorectal cancer researchers in the country," said Dr. McLaughlin. "Colorectal cancer is a concern for all Canadians, and the opportunity to study the disease within the unique population of Newfoundland will enable us to learn more about how colorectal cancer develops and what we can do about it."

Dr. Parfrey said, "Our long-term objective is to determine whether DNA and clinical screening of family members with inherited cases of colorectal cancer will induce longer survival and decrease the burden of disease in Newfoundland."

To arrange interviews with the principal investigators in the Colorectal Cancer Study, please contact nurse-coordinator Elizabeth Dicks at 777-8040.


For further information contact Elizabeth Dicks at 777-8040 or Sharon Gray, communications coordinator (health sciences) at 777-8397.


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