The co-leads of the CRUK Cambridge Centre Early Detection Programme, Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald and Dr Sarah Bohndiek, were honoured last night at an awards ceremony taking place at the NCRI Cancer Conference in Glasgow. Rebecca was awarded the prestigious Jane Wardle Prevention and Early Diagnosis prize, which recognises individuals who have produced world-leading research in the field of prevention and early detection of cancer, and Sarah was recognised with the CRUK Future Leaders in Cancer prize which is awarded to scientists who have demonstrated the potential to achieve world-leading status by producing research of international importance. The prize is awarded annually to up to three outstanding cancer researchers nominated by their peers and selected by an international panel.
Rebecca, Professor of Cancer Prevention and Honorary Consultant in Gastroenterology, is passionate about detecting cancer earlier and has developed the innovative Cytosponge test, currently in national clinical trial. The Cytosponge can detect a pre-cancerous condition of the oesophagus known as Barrett’s oesophagus – a condition that can increase a person’s risk of developing oesophageal cancer. Rebecca said, "It is a great honour to receive this award which is also a tribute to my fantastic team members (past and present). Jane Wardle was a pioneer in a field which is only now being fully recognised as a vital part of reducing the mortality and morbidity from cancer."
Sarah, Reader in Biomedical Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory and Group Leader at the CRUK Cambridge Institute, develops new imaging tools to study the development and evolution of cancer. One aspect of this work is the novel application of multispectral imaging for use in endoscopy. This is a different technique from the current white light endoscopy that is used and may make it easier to spot cancerous cells earlier.
Both these awards demonstrate the importance and impact of the cancer early detection work in Cambridge and we congratulate Rebecca and Sarah on the much-deserved recognition they have received.