The Syscol Project
SYSCOL – Systems biology of colorectal cancer – is a collaborative project financed by the EU Framework
The overall objective of the SYSCOL project is to advance the understanding of the formation of colorectal cancer and increase the likelihood of the development of effective colorectal cancer prediction tools and therapies, with the ultimate aim of reducing mortality rates from colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers. In Europe, it is the single most important cancer in terms of severity, number of cases, absence of effective screening programs and therapies, lack of a readily avoidable cause and cost for society. It affects males and females equally and is most common in middle-aged and elderly people. Outside the Western world the incidence of colorectal cancer increases as populations’ age and adopt a Western lifestyle. Due to this, colorectal cancer is likely to be a major health problem for the foreseeable future.
The project will have a significant and direct impact on human health: systematic mapping of the colorectal cancer pathways allows the development of a quantitative model predicting an individual’s risk to develop colorectal cancer based on his genome sequence. As morbidity and mortality rates due to colorectal cancer can be dramatically decreased by clinical screening and early intervention in predisposed individuals (Järvinen et al. Gastroenterology 118:829-34, 2000), methods that allow stratification of patient groups and identification of high-risk individuals have the potential to significantly decrease the death rate from colorectal cancer.