Bowel cancer: Support our work to understand how the disease spreads
Last updated: 12/09/2012
What's this project about?
Bowel cancer claims around 44 lives every day in the UK. When detected early, nine out of ten cases of bowel cancer can be treated successfully. But if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, the outlook is much poorer.
Mr Alexander Mirnezami is investigating how bowel cancer spreads. His crucial work could lead to new ways to stop the disease in its tracks and save more lives.
Find out more in the video, and hear from Martyn, who was treated by Mr Mirnezami.
Read the video transcript here.
Let your friends and family know about this project to get them involvedShare this project
Mr Alexander Mirnezami gives us an update on how his research is coming along, and to thank the supporters for their invaluable help, contributions, and messages of support.
Project reopened July 2012
Thanks to a recent pledge made by the Gloucester Local Fundraising Committee the project target has now been extended by £20,000.
The Committee have chosen to restrict all the funds raised through the Race4Men event on 19th August 2012 to Mr Mirnezami's research project and runners will be fundraising in support of this vital research project.
All funds raised will continue to be restricted to Mr Mirnezami's research.
If you would like to support our work into a different area of bowel cancer research, take a look at Bowel cancer: a clinical trial to improve treatment.
Project update - June 2012
Thanks to a very generous donation from a charitable trust, we have achieved the fundraising target. This project has raised an incredible £135,000 for bowel cancer research.
Thank you very much to everyone who helped us to achieve this!
Project update - July 2011
Mr Alexander Mirnezami got in touch recently to provide an update and to thank the project supporters for their invaluable help, contributions, and messages of support:
It's been a tremendously busy six months and we have had some excellent results come through showing just how remarkably powerful the MicroRNA we mentioned last time is in making bowel cancer progress. I hope to reveal the full details of these results in the next update. We have submitted articles on our results to some of the leading international cancer journals. We have also been able to publish in the foremost leading international surgical journal on the role of an anastomotic leak (the join in the bowel after bowel cancer surgery) in affecting whether bowel cancer comes back or not.
Excitingly, this observation originally came from our intriguing laboratory work and we then used this knowledge in the clinic. A true laboratory bench to patient bedside approach! With the support of Cancer Research UK and the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland, I was also able to visit three of the leading cancer research and treatment centres in the United States, namely the Mayo clinic in Minnesota, the MD Anderson Cancer Centre in Houston, and the City of Hope in Los Angeles and we have forged some excellent collaborations and exchange of ideas which is spurring the latest work in the laboratory and clinic. While it was not ideal being away from my family for the month spent in the US, we all felt that this unique opportunity was too good to pass up!
Project update - March 2011
We caught up with Mr Mirnezami, who wanted to share some project updates with you. Read on for his news:
We have recently discovered a particular microRNA is important in bowel cancer tumours, that seems to make the cancer cells more aggressive and able to spread to other organs. MicroRNAs are small molecules that are able to control our genes and affect many processes in our cells.
We think this molecule also makes the cancer cells less likely to respond to the treatment we would normally give someone with bowel cancer. Now, we are looking for new drugs that target this microRNA molecule and hope they will make the bowel cancer less likely to spread and become resistant to treatment.
Your generous support is helping us to do this - thank you, and keep up the great work!
What is the science behind the project?
It is the ability of the bowel cancer to spread that is one of the biggest obstacles to successful treatment. When the disease is caught at an early stage, doctors can often use surgery to treat it. But over time, some of the cancer cells start to move away from the tumour and into the bloodstream and lymphatic system. These act as highways to the rest of the body, allowing the cancer to re-locate and grow at other sites, for example in the liver or lungs.
The key to successful treatment is to prevent bowel cancer from spreading. But first we need to understand much more about the biology of how it happens.
That's where Mr Mirnezami comes in. He is studying hundreds of tumour samples that patients have kindly donated for research purposes. Why? To identify molecules in bowel cancer cells involved in promoting spread.
Revealing the cogs that drive cancer spread is a crucial step towards discovering new drugs to slow down or stop cancer in its tracks. It could also lead to new diagnostic tests to help doctors choose the best treatments for individual patients, giving them the best possible chance of survival and reducing the risk of side effects.
The difference you can make
Thanks to earlier detection and improved treatment, we have seen five-year survival rates for bowel cancer double over the last 30 years. But around half of people diagnosed with the disease still do not survive beyond five years. Understanding bowel cancer spread could change this picture and lead to new treatments that save many more lives in the future.
With 38,000 people in the UK diagnosed with bowel cancer every year, the impact of work like this could be enormous.
Please help us raise £135,000 to fund this crucial research for a year.
Donate now and you can help support: Bowel cancer: Support our work to understand how the disease spreads