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Cancer research team win prestigious international award

09 Apr 2024

‘Team Womb’ hailed for a true multidisciplinary effort that changed clinical practice across the UK

Some members of Team Womb

A group of cancer researchers known as ‘Team Womb’ has been awarded an American Association for Cancer Research Award (AACR).

The researchers are based at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) and The University of Manchester (UoM) and are supported by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Manchester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC).

Headed by Professor Emma Crosbie, Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Co-Theme Lead at NIHR Manchester BRC and Professor of Gynaecological Oncology at the University, they have been honoured for their pioneering work on Lynch-syndrome associated endometrial cancer.

They led a research programme that identified a link between womb cancer and Lynch syndrome, changing clinical practice across the UK.

Lynch syndrome is a genetic condition that can significantly increase the risk of developing cancer. It affects around 1 in 300 people, with most unaware that they have it. This condition runs in families and means anyone with the faulty gene carries a high risk of developing womb, bowel and other cancers.

Through unselected and comprehensive testing all womb cancer patients attending MFT between 2016-18, the team showed that 3% had Lynch syndrome and defined the best strategy for identifying them.

Following this study, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) commissioned an expert advisory group to assess the evidence, and resulted in a change in guidance which recommends universal testing of all endometrial cancer patients for Lynch syndrome. This guideline means around 1,000 new people per year in the UK alone can benefit from cancer prevention strategies.

True team science

Emma, who is an Honorary Consultant in Gynaecological Oncology at MFT, said: “I am thrilled that our research means that everyone diagnosed with endometrial cancer in the UK is now offered testing for Lynch syndrome.

“The recognition of this work through the prestigious 2024 AACR Team Science Award is a tremendous honour and I would like to thank everyone who supported us along the way. This was a true multidisciplinary effort involving clinicians, allied healthcare professionals, researchers, patients and charities without whom none of this would have been possible.”

The AACR founded the prestigious Team Science award in 2006 to recognise the growing importance of interdisciplinary teams in understanding cancer and for translating research through to clinical care.

AACR President for 2024-25, Dr Patricia M. LoRusso said; “I believe that this team exemplify true team science, bring together an interdisciplinary team of academics, clinicians and healthcare staff from across medicine, oncology, pathology, health economics and behavioural science. Within this nomination I highlight their exceptional and practice changing work within detection, alongside several outstanding current and future projects they have in their portfolio.”