Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK with over 37,500 new cases diagnosed annually. Thanks to a £40,000 donation by healthcare provider, Simplyhealth, World Cancer Research Fund UK can continue with its two-year project that is working towards developing an early warning test for people at high risk of this disease.
Led by Dr Maria Velasco-Garcia and a team of scientists at the Open University's Department of Chemistry and Analytical Sciences in Milton Keynes, the project aims to develop an innovative non-invasive urine test that will assess the level of DNA damage in the cells that line the colon in presence of a diet high in red meat, which increases the risk of developing bowel cancer.
Teresa Nightingale of World Cancer Research Fund (UK) comments: "There is now convincing evidence that eating lots of red and processed meat increases risk of bowel cancer. Research indicates that high consumption of red meat can damage DNA in the colon and this damage to the cells is what the new test hopes to measure as an early warning sign of the disease. This is an important step in the right direction and eventually could lead to a test that helps us to identify people who are at high risk. By funding this research they are helping us to progress with this potentially life saving project."