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30 March 2015

Pinnacle of Success: Presitgious Awards for Cancer Prevention

Ellie Stewart, Posted in Awards

The excellence of the Centre for Cancer Prevention, one of the 7 centres of the Barts CR-UK Centre, was again recognised when they received three prestigious awards for their epidemiological research in cancer and its impact on cancer prevention.



Left:  Professor Jack Cuzick, with the 2012 Award for Excellence in Cancer Prevention Research, honoured by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the Prevent Cancer Foundation.  Centre Professor Attila Lorincz with his prize for the Research Project of the Year, Times Higher Education Awards, UK.  Right: Professor Stephen Duffy collecting the inaugural Alexander R Margulis Award for Scientific Excellence, Radiological Society of North America 2012 Conference in Chicago, USA

These awards recognise the outstanding contribution of our research in maximising the impact of screening to prevent cancer and so reduce cancer mortality.

Professor Lorincz's team developed a new, do-it-yourself, screening test for cervical cancer that can be more easily adopted and used in poorer nations, where the traditional smear test is logistically difficult or not generally accepted, resulting every year in thousands of avoidable deaths from cervical cancer.  Unlike many forms of disease, cervical cancer can be prevented, but only if women have access to screening or if young girls are vaccinated against the virus that causes cervical cancer.  The study was published in The Lancet in 2012.

Professor Lorincz said:

I'm thrilled to have won the award.  This work represents the culmination of around 10 years of work trying to bring improved cervical cancer screening to poor women in Mexico.  I think it is not just of relevance in that country, but also for underserved women in all parts of the world.  This reaseach is tremendously exciting because it gives us a new and easier way for women to take part in screening.  Our findings show that women are happy to take the test and that it is very sensitive at picking up the women who are at risk of developing cancer.


Professor Duffy's research team won their award for their study on the long-term impact of breast cancer screening, published in the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA)'s journal Radiology in September 2011.  This study was the first to show that screening, with mammography only, led to fewer deaths from breast cancer.  It compared a group of women who were invited for regular mammograms with a group who were not.  The researchers followed up the women for 29 years - the longest recorded follow-up period for a mammography screening trial - and found that 30 per cent fewer women in the screening group died of breast cancer.

"It is a great honour to receive the Alexander Margulis Award for Scientific Excellence," said Professor Duffy.

We take it as a tribute to the many colleagues, especially Professor Tabar of Falun in Sweden who guided this study through the decades, and all personnel working on the Swedish Two-Country Trial over the years, and to the many women who participated in the trial.

They have all played an important part in providing evidence for the substantial long-term reduction in breast cancer mortality brought about by early detection and treatment in the early phase of this dreadful disease.


Professor Jack Cuzick was honoured by the AACR-Prevent Cancer Foundation for his seminal work in cancer prevention research in breast, cervical, colorectal and prostate cancers.  His critical observations on the effectiveness of tamoxifen in preventing breast cancer, resulted in four large clinical trials in women at an increased risk which found that the drug reduced oestrogen receptor-positive breast cancer by about 50%.  Regulatory approval in the United States has now been obtained and NICE has now recommended it in the UK.  He has also worked on screening for cervical, colorectal and prostate cancer.  He is the leading propoent for testing for the human papillomavirus vrisu (the virus that causes cervical cancer), had demonstrated the efficacy of endosocopic screening for colorectal cancer and has assembled the largest cohort of men with localised prostate cancer who are managed by watchful waiting, which has identified important new prognostic factors for separting indolent from aggressive disease.

Professor Cuzick said:

I am delighted to receive this award in recognition of all those who have been a part of my work over the past decades.  This has been an extraordinary period for this field, and I have been lucky enough to benefit from working with so many first class researchers from around the world.

 With thanks to Dr Delphine Purves of the Barts Cancer Institute.

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