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H. pylori linked to colorectal cancer development in a large, European study lead by Dr. David Hughes

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common diagnosed cancer worldwide and the fourth most common cause of cancer death. It is a major cancer type expected to be particularly related to disturbances in the gut microbiome constituents, but there is a need to establish information on how gut microbes may influence disease course and prognosis. While Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is the major cause of gastric cancer, it has also been suggested to be involved in CRC development. However, it remains unclear if this microbe is involved in the initiation of CRC. In the present study, we assessed whether antibody responses to H. pylori are associated with CRC risk in pre-diagnostic serum samples taken from 485 CRC cases and 485 matched controls in the detailed European Prospective Investigation into Nutrition and Cancer (EPIC) study lead by Dr. David Hughes. We applied a multiplex serology assay to simultaneously measure antibody responses to 13 H. pylori antigens. In this large, prospective multi-center European study, we observed that antibody responses to H. pylori proteins, specifically HcpC and VacA, were associated with increased risk of developing CRC. Biological mechanisms for a potential causal role of H. pylori in colorectal carcinogenesis need to be elucidated, and subsequently whether H. pylori eradication may decrease CRC incidence.

Butt J, Jenab M, Pawlita M, TjønnelandA, Kyrø C, Boutron-Ruault MC, Carbonnel F, Dong C, Kaaks R, Kühn T, Boeing H, SchulzeM, Trichopoulou A, Karakatsani A, la Vecchia C, Palli D, Agnoli C, Tumino R, Sacerdote C, Panico S, Bueno-de-Mesquita B, Vermeulen RCH, Gram IT, Weiderpass E BenjaminsenBorch K, Ramón Quirós J, Agudo A, Rodríguez-Barranco M, Santiuste C, Ardanaz E,van Guelpen B, Harlid S, Imaz L, Perez-Cornago A Gunter MJ, Zouiouich S, Park JY,Riboli E, Cross AJ, Heath AK, Waterboer T,  Hughes DJ. Antibody responses to Helicobacter pylori and risk of developing colorectal cancer in a European cohort. CancerEpidemiol Biomark Prev 2020, Apr 24. pii: cebp.1545.2019. doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-19-1545. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 32332031.

Irish Association for Cancer Research Conference Feb. 2019: Short listed poster


Niamh Russell presented the OPTi-PREDICT teams poster titled ‘Refining Treatment Recommendations for Lymph Node-Negative Breast Cancer Patients using a Novel Protein-Based Prognostic Signature: The OnocMasTR Assay’ at IACR. This was a very well attended session with over 150 posters presented. The poster describes the ongoing antibody validation work, where two markers show useful prognostic ability, validated in an independent cohort. It also describes new work using fluorescent staining, which will allow quantification of protein expression of several markers in the same tissue sample. The team was delighted to be listed in the short-list of posters.

Irish Association for Cancer Research Conference Feb. 2019: Two awards for PhD Student Romina Silva

Romina Silva was awarded the inaugural Prof. Patrick Johnston IACR Award for excellence in cancer research outreach in the annual IACR conference (2019). This award was given based on her lay talk entitled “Understanding therapeutic resistance – following cancer’s breadcrumb trail”.

She was also awarded an IACR AOIFA Seed Funding award (6,000€). She will use it to develop a technical approach to detect ovarian cancer mutations in cell-free DNA using ddPCR.

Dr. Antionette Perry Awarded a Commercialisation Fund from Enterprise Ireland Feb. 2019

14th February 2019: Dr Antoinette Perry receiving official award of Commercialisation Fund from Deirdre Glenn, Director, Lifesciences & Food Commercialisation at Enterprise Ireland for project entitled, “epiCaPture: a urine test to detect aggressive prostate cancer”.

Dr Maria Prencipe, awarded the prestigious SFI Starting Investigator Research Grant Feb. 2019

Repro Free: Dublin, 15th January 2019 – Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen, T.D., today launched Science Foundation Ireland’s Plan for 2019 and announced a research investment of €10.8 million in funding for 20 projects in the areas of health, energy, environment, materials and technology. He is pictured with Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland and SFI Starting Investigator Research Grant (SIRG) Awardees. The projects, which will be funded for four years, will support 20 researchers and a further 20 PhD students. Picture Jason Clarke

Congratulations to Dr. Maria Prencipe who received Science Foundation Ireland’s Starting Investigator Research Grant (SIRG) for her project entitled ‘Targeting co-regulators of the androgen receptor as a novel therapeutic approach for prostate and breast cancer’. The SIRG awards help early-career researchers develop the essential skills and experience necessary to lead Ireland’s future research in areas such as health, energy, materials and technology.  Having passed through a rigorous competitive international merit review process, these projects continue to advance Ireland’s international research reputation.

2019 Irish Cancer Society Research Awards Finalist: Phd Student Alexandra Tuzova

Alex was one of three Irish Cancer Society-funded scholars who were shortlisted for an Irish Cancer Society Research Award, where she presented a lay version of her research to a mixed audience judged by a patient panel. To-date, Alex has computationally identified changes in activity of thousands of enhancer regulatory elements in prostate cancer. Her talk entitled “Understanding Aggressive Prostate Cancer”, explained her key findings in simple terms by applying an analogy that searching for these tiny DNA sequences in the human genome is equivalent to searching for a small set of words in 200 phone books.

A Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics Gordon Research Conference travel bursary (500 €) awarded to Alexandra Tuzova 2019

Congratulations to Alex for her successful travel bursary application to attend the Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics Gordon Research Conference in Italy. The focus of this conference is on newly emerging aspects of the field including the genetic heterogeneity of cancer, the “long tail” of less frequent cancer mutations and the importance of intratumoural heterogeneity as assayed by single cell technologies.

Choirs for Cancer – Feb. 1st 2019

To mark World Cancer Day, five secondary school and community choirs combined to highlight cancer awareness at a unique choral event in University College Dublin with the help of Irish singer/songwriter Don Mescall. The event was organised by Professor William Gallagher, Luciana Herda (CBT lab) and Colette Kearney (Biology Teacher in Mount Sion CBS) with CBT lab members helping on the day. All the speakers were inspirational including CBT lab members Maria Prencipe and Seodhna Lynch who thoroughly enjoyed the enthusiasm of the students.

The response was overwhelming positive: ‘the atmosphere was so wonderful and the buzz really was phenomenal’;  ‘music really does warm the soul’; ‘such inspirational amazing young speakers’ and ‘uplifting and beautiful occasion’ to quote a few.




Daffodil Day Launch. Feb. 1st 2019

On Daffodil Day, thousands of volunteers take to the streets selling flowers and daffodil pins to raise monies for the Irish Cancer Society.  Daffodil day was launched on Feb. 1st 2019 with BREAST-PREDICT an Irish Cancer Society Collaborative Research Centre represented by CBT lab members Dr. Arman Rahman and Emer Conroy

PhD Student Flavia Genua awarded €1300 Jan. 2019

Congratulations to PhD student Flavia Genua who has been awarded € 1300 under COST Action CA17118 Identifying Biomarkers Through Translational Research for Prevention and Stratification of Colorectal Cancer  (TRANSCOLONCAN.Eu)  for a three – week STSM (short term scientific mission …EU speak) to the  lab of Dr Alessio  Naccarati Italian Institute for Genomic Medicine , Turin, “Relationship between microbes and microRNAs in colorectal carcinogenesis”.