Research themes

Identifying causes of cancer is a complex and challenging process. This Programme aims to distinguish between causal effects, of importance for understanding disease prevention, and non-causal associations, which in-turn can inform risk prediction.

Mendelian randomization

Work package 1: Causal effect of exposures and phenotypes

Metabolomics & Epigenetics

Work package 2: Identification of biomarkers using metabolomics and epigenetics

Understanding mechanisms

Work package 3: Mechanisms


Cross cutting strand: Data generation and analysis

Knowledge exchange

Cross cutting strand: Dissemination of evidence-based information


Cross cutting strand: Capacity building through training and development

Innovative causal analysis methods such as Mendelian randomization support the identification of exposures which have causal effects, such as obesity and human papilloma virus, and differentiate these from non-causal factors, which can be valuable as biological markers and used as measurable indicators of the risk of developing cancer.

The Programme is divided into three separate work packages. Overlapping all work packages are three strands of research and development: Bioinformatics; Knowledge exchange; and Training.

This is an interdisciplinary and multicentre research programme based within the MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit and the Bristol Medical School at the University of Bristol. The programme involves 16 investigators and many more collaborators across four schools at the University of Bristol, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the University of Manchester and the University of Oxford.

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