New funding to help reduce Australia’s bowel cancer rates

Professor Mark Molloy’s ground-breaking bowel cancer research has received a boost, with the Cancer Council NSW awarding the Kolling Institute researcher a three-year $450,000 grant.

Professor Molloy has welcomed the funding, saying bowel cancer claims more lives each year than breast, prostate or skin cancer.

“It is now Australia’s second biggest cancer killer, with more than 300 Australians diagnosed with the disease each week,” he said.

“We hope our research will help improve treatments and outcomes for patients, and ultimately save lives.

“We know that bowel and rectal cancers develop from polyps, and our team is seeking to understand why and how polyps become cancerous.

“Our research will involve colonoscopy patients at RNSH, and we’ll be using an innovative approach to examine polyps at a molecular level. This will give us a better understanding of how gene mutations, protein expression, immune cells and gut microbes govern the growth of bowel polyps.

“It will help us develop strategies to slow the growth of polyps or even prevent the growth all together,” Prof Molloy said.

Colorectal surgeon and co-investigator Professor Alexander Engel said this research has the potential to inform recommendations around the frequency of colonoscopies for low and high-risk patients.

“We hope it will improve early detection and help prevent bowel polyps growing into cancers, significantly reducing the number of bowel cancer cases in Australia”, he said.