13 11 20

Information and support

  • Get informed
  • Get support
  • Cut my risk
  • Get involved
  • Research
  • Professor Howarth's Research Profile

    Research> Professor Howarth's Research Profile

    Project title: Nutraceutical formulations to protect the bowel from chemotherapy-induced mucositis
    Provide background of your education and research history My primary research over the past 20 years has been on attempting to reduce the intestinal side effects of cancer chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

    My research is therefore relevant to all forms of cancer that receive chemotherapy as a means of treatment.

    I am the co-inventor of a whey‐based formulation that has been patented for the potential treatment of oral mucositis. The new agents that I am working on include extracts from plants and animals, in addition to certain probiotic bacteria and prebiotic agents.
    Provide a lay summary of your research Most cancer patients undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment for cancer. However, unfortunately, these treatments cause serious side effects.

    One of these side effects is inflammation and ulceration of the intestine. This is called mucositis.

    My research is focussed on identifying unique extracts that are capable of protecting the intestine from injury. 
    What benefits will this research have for the future of cancer and the community? The extracts identified by my research would be used by cancer patients to reduce the symptoms of mucositis. 

    The extracts would allow doses of chemotherapy to be increased, thereby increasing the likelihood of eliminating the underlying cancer. These extracts could also possibly target the cancer itself.

    My research will expand treatment options for cancer patients afflicted by mucositis. The ready availability of these treatments would improve quality of life in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. 
    What is required to take your research to the next stage? We would now like to test the most promising candidates in controlled clinical trials.

    However, in order to do so funding is required.

    What motivates you to pursue cancer research? It is extremely satisfying to be involved in research that could one-day benefit millions of individuals afflicted by cancer. I gain a great deal of satisfaction by simply explaining my research to cancer patients, their carers and supporters.

    It heartens me when I can see some of this positive approach reflected in the audience when I give presentations to the broader cancer community.