Parliamentary Secretaries Mr Chris Fearne and Dr Ian Borg launched a new research-based project called IMaGenX. This is an Italia-Malta Genome Breast Cancer Cross-Border Risk Surveillance, aimed at assessing risks in Breast Cancer.
Parliamentary Secretary for Health Chris Fearne announced today that the National Screening Centre in Valletta has introduced a risk evaluation clinic. The aim of this new service is to study and develop risk assessment for familial breast cancer using sophisticated innovative IT systems where individuals will be able to generate personalised health portfolios. Women who have a family history of breast cancer and are currently attending for routine mammograms at Lascaris Centre will now be offered the opportunity to participate in personalised clinical risk assessments.
The Parliamentary Secretary for Health remarked that in 2012 there were 315 new cases of breast cancer with around 80 deaths. However if breast cancer is detected at early stages the survival rate is over 95%. 14,000 women between 50-60 years are being invited for screening each year. “These measures show our commitment to expand the services within the screening programme so as to identify those at risk and get them to follow a surveillance programme at earlier stages”- stated Mr. Fearne.
In this research project led by Malta there are six participating partners. The Maltese partners are the National Screening Services, the University of Malta and the Malta Council for Science and Technology. The Italian partners are Palermo University, its satellite unit in Trapani and Syracuse Regional Health Authority.
Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funding Ian Borg said that this research-based project on Breast Cancer Risk Surveillance is being carried out between Malta and Italy, financed by the Italo-Maltese 2007-2013 programme for a total budget of almost 2.4M. He insisted that this project shows that Malta is very proactive when it comes to initiatives in favour of more research on breast cancer. Likewise, the Parliamentary Secretary emphasised the importance of nurturing research in all aspects of life something which is indispensable when it comes to health.
Ian Borg praised the initiative taken and remarked that for the forthcoming 2014-20 funding programme Malta will be benefitting from further funds – a total investment of around 72M euro under the PA for research and development.