Colorectal cancer (bowel cancer) is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in the UK and much of the industrialised world. There is evidence that diet and lifestyle can increase the risk of bowel cancer and that at least 50-70% of bowel cancers are preventable by adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Chemopreventive agents (agents which are believed to reduce the risk of cancer) such as the traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs) aspirin, COX-2 selective NSAIDs, butyrate (fermentation product of dietary fibre) and certain vitamins (e.g. Vitamin D) are thought to be effective in reducing the risk of bowel cancer, at least in part, through the induction of apoptosis (a programmed form of induced cell suicide). This raises the exciting possibility that research on chemoprevention and apoptosis, which is aimed at identifying novel chemopreventive targets, could also lead to new adjuvants to existing therapies and/or result in novel treatments as well as preventive measures for colorectal cancer (Cancer Research UK Colorectal Tumour Biology Research group and Angela Hague). One of the key areas of research within the Cancer Research UK Colorectal Tumour Biology Research group is to increase our understanding of the causes of colorectal cancer and how colorectal cancer can be prevented, which could save thousands of lives a year in the UK alone.

Seeking exciting possibilities for new adjuvants to existing therapies and/or novel treatments and preventive measures for colorectal cancer.

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