“A cure for colorectal cancer may one day be discovered but meanwhile, ongoing research is vital to help us develop a deeper understanding of the disease, and to find new and better ways of treating it.”

Latest Research

Predicting the response to chemo-radiotherapy for patients with rectal cancer.

Patients with locally-advanced rectal cancer usually receive a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy before they have surgery. This is known as neo-adjuvant treatment.

This Tonkinson Research Fund's research project is investigating the role of the immune system in achieving a response to chemo-radiotherapy. Our hope is that it will help doctors better predict the outcome of neo-adjuvant treatment in their patients with colorectal cancer.  Neoadjuvant therapy - such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy - can reduce the size or extent of the cancer before more radical treatment is used. It makes subsequent surgical procedures easier and more likely to succeed, and reduces the consequences of a more extensive treatment technique that would be required if the tumour wasn't reduced in size or extent.

Investigating the body’s own ability to fight colon cancer.

Doctors have long wondered why your body’s immune system doesn’t fight cancer in the same way it fights a cold or a bacterial infection. Researchers recently discovered special cells which help the immune system distinguish between the body’s own naturally-occurring cells - and cells which shouldn’t be there like infections from viruses or bacteria. These are called T-regulatory cells. 

Researchers with the Tonkinson Research Fund led a project to determine the role played by T-regulatory cells in patients with colorectal cancer. The results of this ground breaking study showed that tumour tissue taken from patients with colorectal cancer contained significantly higher levels of a T cell called FOXP3 - and that the presence of these cells was a good indicator of improved survival.

The research has already been cited in over 320 scientific papers.



The information provided on this website is meant as a general guide only; and is not a substitute for independent professional medical advice. If you have concerns about your health, please see your doctor.