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Mechanisms work

Work is under way to develop and test some new methodology for conducting systematic reviews of mechanistic studies in relation to food, nutrition, physical activity, body fatness and the development and progression of different cancers.

This process began in 2012, when a a special group was convened to begin developing the methodology (see details of the Mechanisms Protocol Development Group below). This Group developed some initial guidance on how to systematically review evidence on mechanisms and cancer.

In September 2012, WCRF International awarded a grant to a team at the University of Bristol to further develop the guidance into a template protocol and test the feasibility of the approach. Dr Sarah Lewis (Principal Investigator) and Professor Martin Wiseman (WCRF International) spoke at the joint WCRF/IASO conference on Obesity, Physical activity and Cancer in April 2013 about this work (you can view the presentations here). Professor Martin Wiseman also spoke at the recent 20th International Congress of Nutrition in September 2013 about the use of systematic reviews of animal and human mechanistic studies - you can view the presentation here.

The Mechanisms Protocol Development Group members will continue to have an independent advisory role in this process together with other expert advisers for this work.

Mechanisms Protocol Development Group (MPDG)


  • Stephen D. Hursting, Chair
    University of Texas
    Austin, TX, USA
  • Steven K. Clinton
    The Ohio State University
    Columbus, OH, USA
  • Andrew J. Dannenberg
    Weill Cornell Medical College
    New York, NY, USA

Associate member

  • Nikki A. Ford
    University of Texas
    Austin, TX, USA
  • Johanna W. Lampe
    Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
    Seattle, WA, USA
  • Henry J. Thompson
    Colorado State University
    Colorado, CO, USA