World Cancer Research Fund announces record grant funding

World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) is delighted to announce its largest ever level of funding in its 30-year history with £4.4million in grants being awarded to 19 new research projects.

WCRF has awarded this record level of funding for research into how diet, nutrition, and physical activity can prevent, or help people survive, cancer.

The 19 successful research projects will be investigating a range of cancers and risk factors, including the effect of coffee, cow’s milk, and sweetened beverages on cancer as well as the effect of physical activity on cancer survivors.

One research project led by Dr Sabine Rohrmann, of the University of Zurich, Switzerland will use the WCRF grant to study the relationship between plant-based diets, and cancer risk and death. Plant-based diets have been growing in popularity in recent years, but there is a plethora of conflicting information about the health effects of this diet. Recently, international experts of the influential EAT-Lancet Commission recommended a mostly plant-based, sustainable diet. However, the effects of this diet on health, and particularly cancer, have yet to be evaluated. This study will use data from the UK Biobank study to determine the relationship between plant-based diets, and cancer risk and death.

Another grant will see Dr Alessandro Carrer of the Veneto Institute of Molecular Medicine, Italy, investigate if sweetened drinks increase the risk of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is among the deadliest forms of cancer, and there is evidence of a link between high fructose consumption and the risk of developing this cancer. This study will use mouse models to identify the processes linking fructose consumption and pancreatic cancer.

For the first time, WCRF has also partnered with Cancer Australia in co-funding three research projects based in Australia which are investigating the role of diet, nutrition physical activity in primary cancer prevention.

Dr Anna Diaz Font, Head of Research Funding at WCRF, said: “We are delighted to be funding so many exciting research projects this year. These research projects will help further our knowledge of the effects of diet, nutrition and physical activity on cancer prevention, and can make a real difference in preventing cancer and improving the lives of people living with cancer.”

WCRF grant holder, Dr Sabine Rohrmann said: “The plethora of information online about the health impact of plant-based diets is confusing to the public and major stakeholders and can paint plant-based diets in an unfavourable light. We are grateful for WCRF’s support that will enable us to investigate the impact of the planetary health diet on cancer risk and mortality.”

Cancer Australia was established by the Australian government in 2006 to benefit all Australians affected by cancer, and their families and carers. Cancer Australia aims to reduce the impact of cancer, address disparities and improve outcomes for people affected by cancer by leading and coordinating national, evidence-based interventions across the continuum of care.

> To find out about the full list of grants visit the WCRF International website