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Donor Funding: $300,000
Cancer Type: Bowel & colon
Cancer Stage: Treatment
Funded in: 2019, 2020, 2021

Dr Susan Woods
University of Adelaide

Bowel cancer is a preventable disease—if caught early, bowel cancers are detected they can be removed and >95% of patients are cured. Yet, over 4,000 Australians still die from this cancer each year. We need to do better to prevent, find and treat these cancers.

This project focuses on finding the hidden, early cancers that are not found by current population bowel cancer screening tests. We combine recent technological advances to develop new tests to better detect these lesions and predict which will become killers. We will rapidly move our best candidates to existing clinical cohorts for evaluation, to expedite translation to the clinic. Together with our Australian research and US-based corporate partners, we also assess personalised treatment regimes for advanced disease using patient samples grown in a dish.

If it works, this will guide therapy choice for patients, reducing unwarranted side-effects and picking the treatment that will work most effectively for each patient.

We also investigate how the bacterial community in our gut is changed in cancer, and the role this plays in promoting this disease. This may lead to a probiotic supplement for high risk people to assist with bowel cancer prevention in the future.