Major Advances

Major advance in bowel cancer research

Press release issued 14 January 2007

An important advance in understanding bowel cancer has been made by researchers at the University of Bristol, UK.

New research demonstrates how a key protein contributes to the growth and survival of bowel cancers.

Using this discovery, it is hoped that the scientists at Bristol University can target the tumour with drug therapies that switch off the survival mechanism, causing the tumour to self-destruct.

The research was funded by Cancer Research UK and is published online today (14 January 2007) in Nature Cell Biology.

Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in the United Kingdom. Every year in the UK, around 35,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer with about 17,000 people dying from the disease.

Team leader, Professor Chris Paraskeva, explained: “We believe it is essential to understand the survival strategies of cancers as they grow, and how they develop resistance to treatment therapies. These cancers are incredibly smart and constantly adapt to their environment in order to survive – we have just got to be smarter. We hope to use this new information to try and interfere with the tumour’s survival tactics and thereby kill it off.”

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