Cancer research has taken a huge leap forward with scientists now able to identify more than 80 genetic markers found to increase the risk of breast, ovarian and prostate cancer. The COGS international research initiative is believed to be the largest of its kind.
Although the results have been widely reported, the cross-border efforts behind this monumental initiative have not. Neither has the EU-funding of EUR 12 million, which has played a significant part in making this global effort a tremendous success. The main findings of the project COGS ('Collaborative Oncological Gene-Environment Study') have been published in a special issue on genetic risk factors for cancer in the prestigious scientific journal Nature Genetics.
The research was led by scientists at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, the University of Cambridge and the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in the UK, with support from more than 160 research groups worldwide. This international network brought together five global studies on 100 000 patients with breast, ovarian or prostate cancer. Another 100 000 healthy volunteers comprised a control group.
One of the study authors, Professor Doug Easton from the University of Cambridge who led several of the studies, said: 'We're on the verge of being able to use our knowledge of these genetic variations to develop a test that could complement breast cancer screening and take us a step closer to having an effective prostate cancer screening programme.'
With this new information, researchers now have a clearer picture of the total number of genetic changes that can explain the risk of getting these cancers. The next step is to calculate the individual cancer risk, which will help to better understand how these cancers start and grow so that new treatments can be developed. It is possible this could lead to a DNA screening test within five years.
For more information, please visit: Nature Journal http://www.nature.com/icogs/
The first 2013 issue of Higher Education Policy contains Jeroen Huisman's editorial celebrating 25 years of the journal. The final issue of the 2013 Volume will be a Special Issue reflecting on research published in the journal over time with the theme, ‘From the Vaults: Revisiting, Revising and Reflecting on Higher Education Policy Research’.
The following recent articles, which demonstrate the range and quality of Higher Education Policy, are now free to view until the end of 2013:
The Decline of Private Higher Education Daniel C Levy (Volume 26, Issue 1)
Uncommon Knowledge: World Bank Policy and the Unmaking of the Knowledge Economy in Africa Milton O Obamba (Volume 26, Issue 1)
Graduate Employability: A Review of Conceptual and Empirical Themes Michael Tomlinson (Volume 25, Issue 4)
Comprehensive Internationalisation in Latin America Jocelyne Gacel-Ávila (Volume 25, Issue 4)
. A new report entitled “Global university rankings and their impact II” was published by EUA and launched in a special session during the EUA Annual Conference, on 12 April
Authored by Andrejs Rauhvargers, the report underlines that there have been significant new developments in the field of international rankings since EUA’s first rankings review report, in 2011. It reveals that the number of international university rankings and other “transparency tools” continues to grow, with the arrival of new rankings and the development of new products by ranking providers.
The growing volume of information that is being gathered on universities and the new “products” on offer also strengthen both the influence of the ranking providers and the potential impact of rankings.
The report shows that rankings are also impacting on public policy making. The developments outlined in the report also indicate the need for all stakeholders to reflect on the extent to which global rankings are no longer a concern only for a small number of elite institutions but have become a reality for a much broader spectrum of universities as they seek to be included in, or improve their position in one or the other rankings.
Discussions that followed the presentation also underlined the continued lack of indicators for addressing teaching quality in an appropriate way, and concluded on the difficulty of conceiving a totally objective ranking. Nevertheless, it was noticed that some rankings providers have themselves started to draw attention to the biases and flaws in the data underpinning rankings, and thus to the dangers of misusing rankings.
EUA will now take this work on rankings forward with its new pan-European project (RISP) designed to study the impact of rankings on institutional strategies in more detail and to provide recommendations on how rankings can promote institutional development while also identifying potential pitfalls that universities should avoid.
The Global University Rankings and Their Impact Report II is available here.