Cancer research wins US funding

An international study led by the University’s Centre for Public Health Research has been awarded $140,000 by the United States National Institutes of Health to investigate risk factors of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), diagnosed in about 600 New Zealanders annually, is a group of cancers that may develop in any organ associated with the lymphatic system, such as the spleen, lymph nodes or tonsils.

Study leader Dr Andrea ‘t Mannetje says both incidence and mortality have been increasing worldwide for 20 years by no one knows why and knowledge about what causes NHL is also poor.

“This study will help us learn more about any links between occupational exposure and NHL, which may provide opportunities for the primary prevention of NHL in the future.”

Previous studies focusing on occupational risk factors have suggested some exposure to pesticides and solvents may be a cause, but study findings have not been consistent.

The new study will, over two years, analyse the association between occupational risk factors and NHL in nine separate NHL case-control studies from North America, Europe and Australia.

It will involve collaborations with world-renowned cancer research institutes, such as the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer and the United States’ National Cancer Institute.

The Centre for Public Health Research is a multi-disciplinary team of researchers established seven years ago and based at Massey’s Wellington campus.

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