Colorectal cancer, also known as bowel cancer, is cancer that develops from the colon or rectum (parts of the large intestine). It is a common types of cancer, making up about 10% of all cancer. Around 38,000 people in the UK develop colorectal cancer annually, and 16,000 die from the disease each year. A person’s chance of surviving colorectal cancer depends on how early or late the cancer is identified. Although diet and lifestyle impact on risk of developing colorectal cancer, no single factor has been shown to have a major effect on personal risk.
The colorectal cancer GeCIP domain will study the DNA of colorectal cancer patients from both their normal tissue (germline) and the tumour itself (somatic). They aim to identify DNA changes (mutations) that may contribute to the cancer, or may control how the tumour develops and evolves over time. By studying these mutations and understanding how they have their effects, they hope to be able to identify potential new targets for drugs, or cases where existing drugs could be repurposed to improve outcomes. They are also hoping to catalogue mutations that have big effects on outcomes. These can then be used to group patients and identify people who are more or less likely to respond to treatment – to help guide their care.