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Development of a blood test to find early signs of bowel cancer in people with IBD

Wed, 05/05/2021 - 15:20
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Researchers from Barts Cancer Institute in collaboration with St Mark’s hospital, London, UK, are developing a blood test that could identify bowel cancers at their earliest stage in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients could reduce the need for regular invasive colonoscopies and save lives. People with IBD are more likely to get bowel cancer, and so patients are offered regular colonoscopy that aims to spot cancer early on, while it can still be treated.

It is hoped that in the future, it could be possible to take the test at a GP surgery, or even at home. Our hope is that the test will improve quality-of-life for people with IBD, and reduce the demand for colonoscopy in hospital.

This PhD will be undertaken by Kane Smith, supervised by Professor Trevor Graham at Queen Mary University of London. Graham leads the Evolution and Cancer laboratory at the Barts Cancer Institute, QMUL. His background is in mathematics, and his work combines maths, molecular biology and evolutionary theory to measure how colorectal cancers form and respond to treatment. By understanding how cancers grow and change over time, Trevor and his team aim to enable more effective early detection of cancers and improve the effectiveness of treatment.

Kane Smith is a researcher at the Barts Cancer Institute where over the last two years he has been investigating genomic biomarkers for colitis associated colorectal cancer risk in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. He completed a BSc in genetics at Cardiff University and an MSc in regenerative medicine at QMUL, giving him a strong background in molecular biochemistry and its application to human disease. Kane is excited to undertake a PhD expanding on his current work and aims to improve early detection of cancers using non-invasive methods.