Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.
Skip to main content

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer in the world with 150,000 new cases each year. At initial diagnosis, 20% of patients have distant metastasis, thus the cancer has spread to other parts and organs of the body and is not confined to the colon or rectum. 25% to 30% of patients with early stage disease will develop metastasis consequently. The subsequent duration of life for metastatic untreated patients is a heart-aching number accounting for a maximum of 9 months.

Currently, using combination therapy approaches, overall survival lengths has been extended to 20 months. The standard of care for metastatic CRC is surgery followed by chemotherapy. There are several approved chemotherapeutic drugs, one of which is the administration of 5-fluorouracil (5FU) with oxaliplatin given mainly through the course of 12 month,s biweekly. The response rate for this treatment is 29%.

Therapy based upon the biology of an individual’s tumour rather than established histopathologic and anatomic classification is an approach that promises to optimise the use of existing therapies. Gene expression analysis offers the potential to measure genome-wide activity which can be used to predict response to current treatments. My project aims at creating a predictive model that can determine which patients are sensitive or resistant to different chemotherapeutic treatment.

In the future, if we, or any other research group, succeeded in reaching this purpose, we would be able to identify the 71% of patients who may not benefit from chemotherapy. I think modifying the standard of care for CRC will have impactful results on the life of patients and this is our ultimate goal as cancer researchers.

Blog posts

Prostate Cancer – March 2020

For prostate cancer awareness month, we focus on the work of Dr Valentine Macaulay.

Brain tumours; like finding a needle in a haystack?!

For Brain Tumour Awareness Month, Vanessa Johanssen talks about her work and how their research has helped to find brain tumours when they're small enough to treat.

Discovering Common Ground

Last April we joined forces with Corpus Christi College and visited Crewe to talk to students there about the impact of maths in materials and cancer research. We met Sarah Stubington and discovered that a shared love of science can create common ground. Sarah shared her perspective of our meeting.

Physics in Medicine

When I was in secondary school, I had two great loves: physics and medicine, in that order. It seemed to me at the time, that these were polar opposites. When I chose to study physics, that meant leaving medicine behind, of course, they’re different fields! That was 6 years ago, so it would surprise my younger self to learn that in 2020, I work in a hospital.

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

On the 11th of February 2020, we celebrate the fifth International Day of Women and Girls in Science as recognised and implemented by the United Nations General Assembly. This day aims to raise awareness of the biases and gender stereotypes that deter women and girls from STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) related fields, as well as promote equal access to and participation in STEM education and professions for girls and women. I reached out to fellow students in the Department of Oncology for their views on women and girls in STEM and for them to spotlight a woman in science who has influenced them.