Researchers at Imperial College in London have used our funding to uncover exciting new insights into the interactions between our microbiomes and bowel cancer development, and has opened up a new line of enquiry for bowel cancer research based around the microbiome.

The project enabled a young PhD researcher, Dr James Alexander, to develop entirely new research tools and complete his PhD thesis. During this time he was cited as primary author of a paper in Surgical Endoscopy detailing the new technique. In addition to which he was primary author on a paper accepted in Nature Reviews, a prestigious and influential scientific publication.

Progress throughout the study has resulted in six publications in the scientific press as well as dissemination via six national and international cancer meetings, including hosting and running the International Cancer Microbiome Consortium at the Royal Society of Medicine in 2017.

A pilot study of the biomarkers identified is underway with a view to moving into full trial within the next two years and the team is moving on to examine how personalised bowel cancer therapies may be made possible through engineering the patient's microbiome.

Applications have been made to the MRC's Global Cancer Call as well as Cancer Research UK to take the research forward.