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March 23, 2010

Genomics News
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» New omega-3 preparation - clinical trial for inherited bowel cancer

A new preparation of an omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid found naturally in fish, offers hope for thousands of patients at risk of developing an inherited form of bowel cancer, a new study shows.

A team of investigators, led by Professor Mark Hull from the University of Leeds, studied patients diagnosed with a rare inherited condition called FAP (familial adenomatous polyposis), thought to be responsible for about one in every 100 bowel cancers. FAP causes a large number of polyps to form in the lining of the large bowel. Patients usually undergo bowel surgery but remain at risk of developing polyps and cancer in any remaining bowel so that regular endoscopic (camera test) checks are required.

In a small randomised, placebo-controlled trial (involving 55 individuals), scientists observed a significant reduction in the size and number of pre-cancerous growths, known as polyps, during a six month trial of the omega-3 preparation.

Now Professor Hull and his team say that further research is needed to find out if this new agent, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) could help prevent the non-hereditary form of bowel cancer, which is the third most common cancer in the UK, diagnosed in around 37,000 people each year.

Press Release

For further information on what it’s like to live with FAP go to our Telling Stories website and read/listen to the real-life accounts from Diane, Paul and Lorraine

February 11, 2010

Genomics News
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» Scientists move closer to personalised bowel cancer treatment

UK scientists have identified genetic ‘hotspots’ that could help doctors to tailor bowel cancer treatment to suit individual patients.

A team at the University of Dundee calculated that one in three people with the disease have gene faults that mean common drugs will not work for them.

The researchers analysed samples from 106 bowel cancer patients to see how often known faults in the K-Ras gene occurred.

The gene encodes a protein that is required to switch cell growth on and off, and is known to be faulty in some bowel cancers, causing the switch to be permanently ‘on’ and allowing uncontrolled cell growth.

Writing in the British Journal of Cancer, the study authors revealed that faults in this gene are even more common than previously thought, meaning that around 12,375 out of the 37,500 people diagnosed with bowel cancer each year in the UK probably have a K-Ras fault.

Professor Roland Wolf, who co-authored the study, explained: ‘These findings may in the future be relevant for selected patients with advanced bowel cancer as doctors will be able to more precisely target these treatments to the patients who will benefit and avoid treating those who won’t.’

Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK, with the majority of cases diagnosed in people over the age of 60.

Posted on behalf of Prof Maggie Kirk

April 3, 2008

Genomics News
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» ‘Derby Day’ - a great success

Thanks to Mick Mason and John Roberts of FAPgene (a site providing information on Familial Adenomatous Polyposis) for their invite to attend their family information day in Derby at the weekend. FAP is a condition that leads to multiple growths (polyps) in the colon and rectum and if the large bowel isn’t removed these polyps will become cancerous. With this inherited form, children of someone with FAP are at 50% risk of also having the condition. I found the day really informative and learnt a great deal from surgeon Sue Clarke about the issues for young adults with FAP who are considering surgery. I spoke about the work of the “Centre”:http://www.geneticseducation.nhs.uk to improve awareness of genetic conditions across the health service and particularly about Telling Stories site which has two submissions about FAPDiane and Paul.

A report of the day is available here. Photos and further info are available from the FAPgene site.