Dr. Nigel Brockton is Director of Research at American Institute for Cancer Research. On January 29th, Dr. Brockton will be presenting at AACR Special Conference on Obesity and Cancer: Mechanisms Underlying Etiology and Outcomes. Here is a lead-in:
1) Tell us about your upcoming participation at the Obesity and Cancer Conference in Austin, Texas?
I am attending the AACR Obesity and Cancer: Mechanisms Underlying Etiology and Outcomes conference. This meeting brings together researchers and clinicians from around the world and across the full spectrum of relevant disciplines to address the critical issue of how obesity causes cancer and its impact on outcomes after a cancer diagnosis. Body fatness is one of the core aspects of lifestyle on which AICR is focused. As Director of Research for AICR, this is a great opportunity to learn about the latest research in this area.
(2) What is the focus of your poster presentation?
I will be presenting two posters. The first is a summary of the mechanisms that have been proposed in the 12 CUP reports for which the CUP Panel have judged the evidence to be strong (“convincing” or “probable”) for obesity being a cause of cancer. The second, I will be presenting on behalf of Dr. Sarah Lewis from the University of Bristol, UK; this second poster presents a new method for reviewing the huge body of mainly laboratory-based research in a systematic way. Previous approaches are susceptible to bias and subjectivity. The two posters are complementary; the first illustrates that there are a few broad mechanisms by which obesity causes a wide spectrum of cancers; the second presents a way to drill down and identify the gaps in our knowledge and how we might go about filling those gaps.
(3) How important is this new method for researchers who study the link between lifestyle factors and cancer risk?
Cancer epidemiology has a long history of knowing that things are good or bad before we know how they are good or bad. This delay in knowing the “how” has been true for individual exposures, such as smoking, but is even more challenging for complex lifestyle factors. This new method will help us understand what we do and don’t know about the proposed mechanisms that link lifestyle exposures and cancer risk. That understanding in turn will help researchers to prioritize focus on critical progress-limiting gaps in our knowledge.
(4) How do you see this new methodology impacting future research on cancer prevention, survivorship, and recurrence?
I think this new methodology will have many beneficial consequences. The framework exposes the necessity for multi-disciplinary communication at the earliest stages of study and experimental design. For example, understanding what is needed for downstream systematic reviews will encourage the reporting of essential experimental details and defining best practice for mechanistic studies. The impact of research will be amplified because other researchers will be able to build upon it. This will make progress more efficient.
Published on January 30, 2018