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Royal College of Surgeons & Bowel Cancer UK to invest half a million pounds in bowel cancer surgical research

19 May 2017

Bowel Cancer UK, in partnership with the Royal College of Surgeons of England, announce £500,000 funding for bowel cancer surgical research to establish the UK’s first Colorectal Cancer Surgical Research Chair and establish a network of Bowel Cancer UK Colorectal Cancer Surgical Research Fellows. This announcement comes ahead of International Clinical Trials Day on Saturday 20 May 2017.

Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in the UK. However it shouldn’t be because it is treatable and curable especially if diagnosed early. Surgery is the most common treatment for bowel cancer and central to curing the disease, yet investment in surgical research is too low.

Investing in surgical research is crucial to develop more effective and personalised life-saving treatments, standardise surgery and care for patients regardless of where they live and minimise side-effects for everyone who has an operation.

Bowel Cancer UK and the Royal College of Surgeons of England will establish the UK’s first Colorectal Cancer Surgical Research Chair in partnership with a University to drive forward the surgical clinical trial agenda for bowel cancer, increasing the number of surgical trials focussed on bowel cancer and increasing patient access to them.

The Partnership will pump prime the position for four years and it will then become part of core faculty at the University.   The Chair will lead, support and help drive forward:

  • New and innovative surgical treatments for bowel cancer patients that are more effective and personalised
  • Partnerships to increase the number of surgical clinical trials for bowel cancer patients in the UK
  • Strategies to recruit more patients into existing surgical clinical trials

The partnership is also establishing a UK wide network of Bowel Cancer UK Colorectal Cancer Surgical Research Fellows to develop the surgical research leaders of tomorrow leading to continuous improvements in high-quality surgery for patients, which will in time save lives

Deborah Alsina MBE, Chief Executive of Bowel Cancer UK, says: “We’re thrilled to be working in partnership with the Royal College of Surgeons for our first investment in bowel cancer surgical research. This funding forms a key part of our new five year research strategy, which will be published later this year.

“Clinical trials are vital for taking potential treatment developments from research ideas to translating them into new drugs, diagnostic tests and surgical treatments for patients. Over the years surgical clinical trials have had a huge impact on improving the outcomes for people with bowel cancer.  Most recently, we have seen great advances in using drugs and surgery in combination to help shrink the tumours to a size that makes surgery more likely to be effective at curing patients. Only surgical clinical trials offer us the evidence to know this is safe and effective.”

Professor Dion Morton, Director of Clinical Research at the Royal College of Surgeons, says: “At a time when there are 100 new cases of bowel cancer in the UK every day, this funding could not come soon enough. Clinical trials are the bedrock of high quality medicine, and provide the best opportunity for making improvements in bowel cancer care.

“This funding will support the development of new studies so patients will be able to access innovative surgical techniques, combined with the best perioperative care for the best patient outcomes. Through these clinical trials, surgeons will learn more about the safety and effectiveness of new bowel cancer surgery techniques and how best to select patients for these treatments.”  

Notes to editors

The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity, which exists to advance surgical standards and improve patient care.

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