Major achievements in FISHGASTRO

Gastro-intestinal health with special emphasis on reduction of risk of colon cancer and inflammatory bowel disease

Major achievements in 2006

The work so far has consisted of establishing standardised protocols among the partner institutes, of which one is in the UK, two in the Netherlands, and one in Germany. Ethical approval has been obtained in all countries involved, and volunteers for the intervention studies are being recruited. Clear participant information sheets have been produced to allow all volunteers to understand their role in the study. Recipe books have been produced in the UK and in the Netherlands with suggested recipes so people can cook their fish in a variety of different dishes. The intervention studies will continue until in total 270 subjects have completed the trial. Analysis of dietary data, biopsy and faecal samples will be on-going up until 2008. Patient recruitment for the intervention studies, which have now been going for two years is slower than anticipated in the UK. So far 177 participants are included, 45 in the UK and 132 in the Netherlands. Therefore, it was decided to extend the recruitment in the Netherlands for 6 months to be able to achieve the milestone of 270 participants by December 2007. Additional funding for the Wageningen centre must be found. Grant proposals have been submitted to the Netherlands Foundation for Digestive Diseases and the World Cancer Research Fund. If granted, this will cover a one-year extension of the contract one of the scientists. Additional funding is required for a research assistant to help with the extra recruitement. It is proposed that funding is transferred from IFR (partner 5) to WU-HNE (partner 8) to cover some of these costs but this is not entirely satisfactory because salaries in the Netherlands are much higher than in the UK. The work regarding measurement of faecal markers, markers of inflammation, development of markers for colorectal cancer risk using DNA chip technogy, including training of staff, has made good progress with excellent cooperation among centers. A great deal of progress has been made by WU-HNE (partner 8), Netherlands, and FSU, Germany (partner 14), in development of novel methods for measuring DNAdamage in biopsy cells by COMET analysis. This has been extended to include IFR (partner 5). This has been very succesfull.


The approach to the array analysis is has now been generally resolved (see WP1.1.5). IFR is purchasing Affymetric arrays through the NuGO consortium. These cost considerably more than the original in-house arrays planned to use but will allow better comparison of results between centres involved in the NuGO Network of Excellence and reach accepted quality standards. The extra costs of these arrays are affordable within FISHGASTRO but the confirmation of results by Real Time RT-PCR will now be born by Dr Lund’s core BBSRC funding.


Regarding measurement of in-vitro digestibility of fish protein, fish fatty acids and formation of peptides during digestion, there was delay in the execution of the experiments as a consequence of capacity problems at TNO. The pillar coordinator, Gertjan Schaafsma, was informed in December 2005 that these capacity problems are now solved by having a technician included in the TNO team such that the delay will be eliminated soon.


The supply of salmon through Nutreco has been excellent and the IFR member of staff responsible is a Polish speaker who has developed an excellent working relationship with the new Polish suppliers. Throughout 2006 there have been a problem with the supply of cod. This problem were however brought to a resolution with a supplier in Spain being a new Associate of SEAFOODplus (INESMA).


Projectleader FISHGASTRO

Dr. Elizabeth Lund