Using mini tumour models to find new treatments for bowel cancer

Bowel cancer


At the University of Birmingham, Dr Andrew Beggs is undertaking a pioneering research project, aimed at finding new treatments for bowel cancer.

The first project of its kind in the UK, Dr Beggs and his team are collecting tumour samples from 200 patients with bowel cancer to grow mini tumour models – or avatars – in the lab. These avatars will then be exposed to more than 2,000 drugs and treatments, some of which have never been tested before. The researchers also hope to use the avatars to better understand why some patients’ tumours are sensitive to radiotherapy and chemotherapy, while others are not.

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK so there’s an urgent need to develop new treatments and improve existing ones. Dr Beggs hopes that this innovative approach to understanding more about bowel cancer will speed up the development of new treatments and save more lives.