The meeting of 100 international scientists, including some researchers from Iran, seeking to understand the causes of cancer with new genetic approaches in collaboration with the major research project "MUTOGRAPHS", was held on July 11 and 12, 2019 at the International Agency for Cancer Research.

According to the Digestive Diseases Research Institute of Tehran University of Medical Sciences, the MUTOGRAPHS project which is funded by the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) is led by Professor Mike Stratton, Director of the Wellcome Sanger Institute.

In this study, scientists will examine whether "the different types of genetic mutations in DNA of cancer cells can explain the geographical differences in the incidence of cancer?"

Researchers want to answer this important question through genetic mutational signatures.


Dr. Malekzadeh

Dr. Malekzadeh, the main executor of the Golestan cohort study (a study that has explored the causes of the high prevalence ofesophageal cancer in northeastern Iran), and one of the members of this research project said: "One of the objectives of the MUTOGRAPHS study is to monitor all types of effective exposures on the incidence of cancer in healthy people by investigating the genetic mutational signatures in DNA of normal cells."

The head of the Digestive Diseases Research Institute of Tehran University of Medical Sciences, said that the study will focus on 5 cancers: colorectal cancer, renal cancer, pancreatic cancer, and both adenocarcinoma and squamous cell esophageal cancer. Also he added: "In this global study, the clear or suspected link to common lifestyle risk factors for cancer including diabetes, obesity, smoking, and opium, alcohol and meat consumption will be investigated."


Iran's representative at the International Agency for Cancer Research emphasized that this global study could bring new and promising approaches to cancer prevention and treatment.

He pointed to the recruitment of 1000 cases from high risk and low risk areas of the world into the "MUTOGRAPHS PROJECT" which includes extensive background lifestyle information as well as their clinical outcome and said: "Whole genome sequencing of DNA of tumor cells will be undertaken on all cases, prior to extensive investigation of underlying genetic mutation signatures.

This will be supplemented by a focused epigenetic epidemiology study to assess the potential value of methylation patterns to inform cancer etiology, and both data will subsequently be used to link with suspected risk factors across high and low risk regions, allowing for identification of the causes of these large international differences in cancer incidence in different countries of the world."

 Cancer Research UK's Grand Challenge (the largest research on this disease in the world) is looking for international andmultidisciplinary groups who are willing to address the most difficult cancer research challenges and explore new approaches in this field. These researches, with seven teams in nine countries, will invest over 130 million pounds over the next five years.

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