Breakthrough bowel cancer research at NUI Galway gets European award

Breakthrough research into bowel cancer by Dr Aideen Ryan of NUI Galway has been awarded the European Association for Cancer Research (EACR) Young Investigator Award.

Funded by the Irish Cancer Society, the research has found that switching off a specific protein in bowel cancer cells (known as NF-kappaB) can stimulate an anti-tumour immune response which can reduce the spread of cancer to other parts of the body. 

Bowel cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting both men and women. Around 2,400 new cases and almost 1,000 people die from this cancer each year.

To date, therapeutic developments to tackle the problem of bowel cancer spreading to other parts of the body have had very little success and new methods are urgently needed to improve survival for patients. 

Ryan said: “Our findings have, for the first time, uncovered the effect of targeting the NF-kappaB protein in bowel cancer cells. We are continuing this important research in order to develop a new treatment approach for bowel cancer which could potentially result in better treatments for patients with this disease.”

This research adds to recent developments in bowel cancer research conducted whereby Irish scientists are now developing a simple and inexpensive blood test which can be used as an early detection tool for bowel cancer. 

Irish Cancer Society funding, provided through the society’s research fellowship programme to Dr Gregor Kijanka, Dublin City University, was instrumental in the initial development and validation of this new test. 

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