Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Queens University to Lead $8.3M Stratified Colorectal Cancer Initiative

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Queens University in Belfast said today it will lead a €6 million ($8.3 million) international project that seeks to investigate genes that make bowel cancer so deadly and hard to treat.

Funded by the European Commission's Seventh Framework Programme, the MErCuRIC project will focus on genes that may be involved in a particularly aggressive type of colorectal cancer that affects around 50 percent of CRC patients, and which has a five-year survival rate of less than five percent.

The translational study will involve a clinical trial of more than 1,000 people and will include 13 partners across Europe and the UK, including Pfizer and other representatives from industry.

"Our research has identified two key genes that are contributing to the aggressive spread of colorectal cancer," program coordinator Sandra van Schaeybroeck, of Queens' Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology, said in a statement.

She said the study partners will continue to advance knowledge about the genes and disease by "developing and conducting a clinical trial that targets the products of these two genes in patients with metastatic or aggressive colorectal cancer."

University of Oxford Professor Tim Maughan, one of the partners in the project, said the study potentially could lead to "new approaches to treat patients who have what is essentially an incurable disease."

The MErCuRIC project partners will use stratified treatment regimes and develop non-invasive monitoring and detection systems to improve clinical decision making for CRC patients.

They will use next-generation sequencing to discover genetic biomarkers that can be used to develop personalized treatments, particularly by identifying which patients benefit most from specific treatments.

The consortium includes partners in Ireland; the UK; Spain; Belgium; France; Italy; and the Czech Republic.

The Scan

Push Toward Approval

The Wall Street Journal reports the US Food and Drug Administration is under pressure to grant full approval to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.

Deer Exposure

About 40 percent of deer in a handful of US states carry antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, according to Nature News.

Millions But Not Enough

NPR reports the US is set to send 110 million SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses abroad, but that billions are needed.

PNAS Papers on CRISPR-Edited Cancer Models, Multiple Sclerosis Neuroinflammation, Parasitic Wasps

In PNAS this week: gene-editing approach for developing cancer models, role of extracellular proteins in multiple sclerosis, and more.