Aberdeen Uni scientist leads £10.5m project on prostate cancer

An Aberdeen University scientist is to lead a world-wide £10.5 million project using '˜big data' to answer critical questions about prostate cancer.

Professor James N'Dow
Professor James N'Dow

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer for men in Europe and representing one in ten of all male cancer deaths.

Healthcare costs related to prostate cancer were estimated at £7.45 billion per year in the EU in 2009, accounting for 7 per cent of all cancer costs in Europe.

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Around 3,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in Scotland. A further 23,000 live with the disease which kills over 900 men annually.

Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh recently stripped down to his boxers to expose the naked truth about prostate cancer. Picture: James Bennett

Professor James N’Dow and his team on the PIONEER EU Commission IMI-funded project, are aiming to plug gaps in prostate cancer management and treatment.

The lack of knowledge means it is harder to predict which patients will have the best outcomes with specific treatments or which patients can be managed safely without treatment.

The project incorporates 32 institutions and companies from nine countries.

It will begin consulting clinicians, patients, researchers and other stakeholders to create a list of research priorities.

Other areas requiring investigation include insufficient knowledge of risk factors, patient characteristics and genetic profiles.

Professor N’Dow said the project aimed to improve outcomes for patients: “PIONEER has the potential to create a real step change in the treatment of prostate cancer.

“Along with our collaborators we will coordinate a wide ranging consultation with key stakeholders and collate and harmonise massive amounts of data already collected from prostate cancer patients to transform the field of prostate cancer care.

“This will be done with particular focus on improving prostate cancer-related outcomes, health system efficiency and the quality of health and social care delivered to all prostate cancer patients and their families.

“In addition, PIONEER will aim to provide standardised care pathways for all clinical centres across Europe and beyond.”