Thursday 12th April 2018

Genetics Research Appeal 2018 Launched

Bowel Cancer is the 4th most common cancer in the UK and is the 2nd highest cause of cancer-related death. One in four people in the south west know someone with bowel cancer yet the region doesn’t receive the funding it requires to make a significant impact on mortality rates. Research into the role genetics play in causing bowel cancer is the future and can be very cost effective compared to other forms of research.

South West based brother and sister Mark Belamarich and Julie Ann Cremen have of a strong history of bowel cancer in their family.

“Our great grandmother, grandmother and father all died from bowel cancer in their forties due to a cancerous gene passed down the generations. Just months after our father’s his passing; Julie Ann was diagnosed and survived bowel cancer at the age of 26.

Several years later, also at the age of 26, I went to my local doctor with symptoms and was told “It’s probably Irritable Bowel Syndrome”. I sought a second opinion and was also diagnosed with bowel cancer.

Unfortunately, my daughter, aged 14, also carries the gene which means at some stage- she will get bowel cancer.

It’s been incredibly tough for us all, but thankfully charities like Bowel Cancer West and the scientists they fund, are doing what they can to save families like ours.

We can also do our bit and help spread the word. If you have any doubts, get yourself checked out. If you have a history of bowel cancer, get yourself checked out. What’s a few hours of inconvenience for a lifetime of fun?”

Evidence suggests that 35% of bowel cancer has a hereditary component. By gaining a greater understanding of the role that genes play in causing cancer, it is hoped that we can have an impact upon preventing these cancers from developing.

Bowel Cancer West have pinpointed genetic research as a priority to stopping bowel cancer and we are aiming to raise approximately £20,000 to fund three significant projects:

1) This project brings together scientists from University of Exeter and surgeons from the Royal Devon and Exeter Foundation Hospital Trust to identify the mechanisms that cause normal cells to mutate into malignant cells to form bowel cancers. By understanding the DNA changes that occur in patients with bowel cancer, we hope to identify unique signals that will help with screening, choosing best treatments, developing new treatments and helping guide prognosis. This research can significantly improve outcomes of patients with colorectal cancer and we are looking to raise £5712 to support this project.

2) To create a model from patient intestinal tissue (patients with MAP or FAP) to demonstrate colorectal cancer development. This model will enable researchers to determine molecular dysfunction that occurs during the formation of a tumour in the colon, rectum and intestine. Understanding how this occurs can be crucial to preventing the development of cancer. We are looking to raise £9549.49 to ensure this research can go ahead.

3) Mutations in the AXIN2 gene have been reported to have a role in causing colorectal effects. This project aims to further explore such mutations, with the aim of genetically characterising the tumours which occur in the individuals who carry them. Once we have a better understanding of this gene, we will be able to optimise the care of patients and their families who are affected by such mutations, so that we can try to prevent cancer from developing. This project requires £5,000 worth of funding.

Both projects will take place at Cardiff University, School of medicine, as part of the Inherited Tumour Syndromes Research Group lead by Professor Julian Sampson- Director of the Division of Cancer and Genetics

With your support we can make a big difference and kickstart this project in 2018. Please contact to find out how you can fundraise or volunteer or donate to us and make a big difference to this project. With your support, we can stop more people from dying of bowel cancer.

*All projects have been ethically approved. Any amount raised over the target will be used to fund other BCW research, training or awareness projects. A proportion of funds received from gift-aid will be used to cover administration costs.


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