Eleven deaths per day from colorectal cancer

As the death toll in Portugal from colorectal cancer reaches almost epidemic proportions, a young researcher has received a €93,000 grant from a US association to try and find an “immune response” to the disease. The idea is to try and identify tumour cells and eliminate them from people’s bodies. Very much hereditary, colorectal cancer is killing on average 11 people a day in Portugal, with many showing signs of the disease before they reach the age of 50.

Thirty-two-year-old Noel de Miranda now has two years for his research project, which he claims will not really cover the cost of his salary.

Nonetheless it has been an “enormous honour” to have been chosen by the US association, particularly because it is “not very common” for European investigators to get this kind of recognition.

His objective now is to use the award to help him “get more projects and money” to support his work.

A former graduate of applied biology at the University of Minho, Miranda has been living for the last seven years in Holland.

He told Rádio Renascença that he has “always wanted to return to Portugal” but that every year that passes “it seems to be an objective that gets more and more distant”. The problem is the “lack of strategy that moves with every government”. It does not give scientists “much confidence to develop investigation in Portugal”, he concluded.

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