Professor Dion Morton

Improving treatment for bowel cancer

Professor Morton is a leading expert on bowel cancer, and is based at the University of Birmingham. Here, he’s a Professor of Surgery and Director of Birmingham’s Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC).

The ECMC aims to translate research from the lab into the clinic, create new prevention strategies for a number of different cancers, and develop early phase clinical trials to test out potential new treatments. Professor Morton is also working to make treatments for bowel and lung cancer more personal through two innovative projects – S-CORT and the Stratified Medicine Programme – which are matching up treatments to patients’ faulty genes.

He’s also leading a clinical trial called ‘FOxTROT’ which tested out two new treatments for patients with bowel cancer. Many people have chemotherapy after surgery for bowel cancer, but this trial looked at also giving chemotherapy before surgery. This could make it easier to remove the cancer and help to treat any cancer cells that have spread.

There are different types of bowel cancer depending on whether particular genetic ‘faults’ are present or not. Patients with a certain kind of bowel cancer were also given a biological therapy called ‘Panitumumab’ alongside their chemotherapy before surgery, to see if this would make the chemotherapy more effective.

Clinical trials are vital for testing improvements to cancer treatments. This research could help to develop more effective ways of stopping bowel cancer coming back after surgery, and increase the number of people surviving this disease.


Bowel (colorectal) cancer
Lung cancer
Cancer prevention
Clinical trials
Drug development

Institute of Cancer and GenomicSciences, Heritage Building, Birmingham