The Eve Appeal are very proud to announce that our Chief Scientist, and Head of Department of Women’s Cancer at University College London, Professor Martin Widschwendter, has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC); in order to undertake a pioneering research project into cancer prevention.
Professor Widschwendter, has been awarded the maximum €2.5 million European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant to fund research into understanding and preventing cancer development in BRCA 1/2 mutation carriers – which holds hope for those women who are at high-risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer.
The prestigious ERC Advanced Grant, is awarded to frontline researchers across Europe who need long-term funding to pursue ground-breaking, high-risk projects; which this project certainly does.
Recent evidence demonstrates that cancer is surpassing cardiovascular diseases as the primary cause of mortality in Europe, which is largely due to a lack of preventative measures for common (e.g. breast) or highly fatal (e.g. ovarian) cancers.
Therefore, Professor Widschwendter’s research aims to develop entirely new tools for cancer prevention with a view to improving early detection and risk control. It is centred on the principles of systems medicine and built on a large cohort of BRCA mutation carriers and controls who will be offered newly established cancer screening programmes.
This has the potential to lead to major scientific advances for women’s cancers and possibly for other chronic diseases; by resetting the epigenome (molecular changes which define a cells program i.e. switches genes on and off) in order to establish normal cell identity and reduce the risk of cancer without the need for invasive surgery.
The research will be led from the Department of Women’s Cancer at UCL where Professor Widschwendter has assembled a powerful inter-disciplinary team, including computational biologists, functionalists, immunologists and clinician scientists all linked to leading patient advocacy groups.
At The Eve Appeal we’re acutely aware that medical research takes time to transition from the laboratory to the clinical setting and are delighted that their seed funding of the BRCA Protect Research Clinic directly facilitated this ERC award.
“This is a huge boost to research funding in cancer prevention. Only a fraction of research funding in Europe is focused on prevention. The mortality statistics from ovarian cancer have barely shifted in over 30 years and the millions invested in researching new treatments have yielded very little in terms of lives saved.”
– Athena Lamnisos, CEO of The Eve Appeal
We are ambitious, and along with Professor Widschwendter and his team, we want to ensure that we make a difference to women both of today and women of the future through this pioneering research project.
To find out more about the research that The Eve Appeal are currently funding, or to meet our team of researchers please visit www.eveappeal.org.uk/research