Breakthrough in bowel cancer treatment

Scientists at Cardiff University have discovered a new way to prolong the life of people with bowel cancer.

Researchers have completed clinical trials which involved treatment strategies to boost the power of the immune system of inpatients with end-stage bowel cancer.

This early phase study, funded by Cancer Research Wales, is thought to be amongst the first immunotherapy trial in bowel cancer to show a significant improvement in survival outcomes for patients with advanced disease.

55 patients were recruited to the trial at Velindre Cancer Centre.

Patients whose immune system could be boosted lived on average for 20months, compared to 10 months in those who failed to respond to the new treatments.

Th study showed that patients who respond by generating immune responses to up-regulated, tumour proteins do well, and this is a fundamentally important finding.

Professor Andrew Godkin, consultant gastroenterologist from Cardiff University, School of Medicine

As bowel cancer represents the second leading cause of cancer death in Wales, this study represents a big step forward in the management of a disease that is very difficult to treat in the advanced stages. We as a charity are proud to have supported this work as we continue to seek further breakthroughs in this very exciting field of cancer treatment.

Liz Andrews, Charity Director of Cancer Research Wales

This early stage research is a step in the right direction for investigating new treatment options for people with advanced bowel cancer. Bowel Cancer UK would like to see further larger scale studies developed to determine how effective this approach could be in practice. This study is a testament to the exciting research which is taking place in Wales.

Lowri Griffiths, Head of Wales for Bowel Cancer UK