Dr Christopher Jackson MBChB FRACP

Consultant Medical Oncologist, Southern Blood and Cancer Service, Southern DHB; Senior Lecturer in Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, NZ; and Medical Director, The Cancer Society of New Zealand



After undertaking his initial training in New Zealand, Chris was appointed as a clinical research fellow at the GI Unit at Royal Marsden Hospital in London, later appointed to a locum consultant post.  

Since returning to New Zealand he has been active in clinical research and in cancer policy. He was clinical lead for NZ’s largest colorectal cancer study, the PIPER project; is deputy director of Cancer Trials NZ, and leads clinical research at Southern DHB. In the policy area he is chair of the colorectal cancer tumour standards group, and serves on the National Bowel Cancer Group and Medical Oncology Work Group.

Currently Chris coordinates undergraduate and postgraduate teaching for oncology at the Dunedin School of Medicine, is Principal Investigator developing an oral form of paclitaxel, and continues with his bowel cancer outcomes work with the PIPER project.

In his spare time he likes watching super hero movies, playing back yard cricket with his kids, and loves cooking. 

Colorectal Cancer in NZ and the PIPER Project: Translating Research into Clinical Outcomes 

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is New Zealand’s cancer. It is our most common cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death, and we have one of the highest rates in the world. Despite our world-leading rates, our national response in terms of prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment has been sluggish compared to other countries. Several previous researchers had demonstrated that Māori have worse outcomes due to several small but cumulative discrepancies in quality of care, and rural patients were also thought to have worse outcomes.

How can clinical researchers get involved to make a difference?

In 2011 we started the PIPER project – NZ’s largest-ever study of CRC. This project involved hand-searching the notes of over 6000 patients, creating a database of over 960,000 data points. We looked to identify key elements of care and key journey times that could be targeted to improve experience and outcomes. This presentation will look at the history of colorectal cancer in NZ, the role of the PIPER project, and how the findings of research have been translated into clinically meaningful differences for patients – or have they?