Research

We currently have four south west based research projects underway in 2017, with some groundbreaking outcomes expected.

Some donors ask us how a charity can make any difference in the greater scheme of cancer research. While millions of pounds are invested every year by the leading research institutes, we are confident we are also making our mark. We have selected the neglected areas of research and these have a direct and tangible impact on cancer treatment outcomes.

Achieved with a minimal financial investment, the nationally recognised expertise available in our region means the West Country is the perfect place for BCW to make an impact. Of course we will share what we know for the greater good; support us and support all.

We are currently inviting more applications for 2018/19. Click here for 2018/19 information and here for an application form

2017 Projects

1) Patient fitness v clinical outcomes

This is a long-term study that is being undertaken by Gary Minto, a consultant anaesthetist and BCW trustee based in Plymouth. He is driving a major study to identify the links between patient fitness and clinical outcomes and the work compares and combines exercise testing with CT scans of the heart in patients being assessed for major surgery.

He expects to report on the short-term results in 2017 and the early indications are showing positive results. His work has already had a direct impact on three specific cases.

2) Web focused methods of coping with bowel cancer

Selina Goodman (Registered Genetic Counsellor) at Plymouth University, with NHS Research and Development approval, has created a new website www.familyweb.org.uk to help families living with a high risk of bowel cancer. In this pioneering new project relatives can share information about their diagnosis with one another securely via the website, so making a supportive network or ‘web’ of contacts between family members. This can be vital in enabling relatives who have not had cancer to get the screening they need to protect themselves. The website also provides open access information about genetic forms of bowel cancer and what action people can take to reduce their risk of getting cancer. Getting the correct information to relatives can make a difference and potentially saves lives.

3) Patient safety and non-technical skills

Charlotte Hitchins' work focuses on the impact of non technical skills training on optimising patient safety. Her particular area of specialisation is endoscopy. This is a key element of the colorectal cancer diagnosis process.

This is a high turnover environment where errors and accidents can potentially occur and she is currently recruiting patients for the study and expects to complete in 2017.

4) Genetic Research

Laura Thomas is based at Cardiff University and is investigating genetic mechanisms in polyposis of the bowel.

Cancer is caused by genetic mutation, so understanding cell behaviour at the genetic level is key to identifying techniques to fight it. The work described here will have immediate impact on patients throughout the UK. Identification of the causes of polyposis of the bowel in this group of patients will allow for more accurate genetic diagnosis and improvements to the diagnostic techniques used.

More importantly, it will allow for more appropriate management of polyposis of the bowel and genetic counselling for patients and their relatives who are at risk.

Cancer is caused by genetic mutation, so understanding cancer at the genetic level is essential to identifying techniques to fight it.

Researching the causes of polyposis (numerous small growths) of the bowel in a small group of patients will allow for more accurate genetic diagnosis and improvements to the diagnostic techniques used.

Our work will have immediate impact on patients throughout the UK so a huge thank you to Bowel Cancer West for your support.


Cardiff University, Genetics Research Centre (BCW funded project)