Since September 2011, 40tude curing colon cancer has raised more than £1 million for St Mark's Hospital in Harrow, a world-leading centre for research and the treatment of bowel disorders. The medical teams at St. Mark’s are leading several projects targeted at transforming the early diagnosis and treatment of colon cancer. The funds we raise are targeted at specific projects which without 40tude’s support would not move forward.  

40tude is helping to fund two bespoke pioneering projects underway at St. Mark's Hospital:  the PERFECTS programme, to improve and monitor the quality of CT colonographies across the NHS and potentially worldwide - and the PROGRESS research project, which will help advance the understanding and clinical management of polyps: pre-cancerous growths in the colon which can be easily removed if detected early, significantly reducing the risk of developing this type of cancer.

Previously 40tude has helped to fund the FLEX project at St. Mark's, a leading-edge surgical technique to treat colon cancer, in addition to the Artificial Bowel Project, a programme to engineer new bowel tissue using existing stem cells in a patient.  More details of each of these inspiring projects can be found below.

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40tude-funded projects at St. Mark's:

PERFECTS: High-quality CT Colonography Screening 

PERFECTS is a programme to develop a Quality Assurance and training tool to improve and monitor the quality of CT colonographies in the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programmes.  CT Colonography can be an effective screening tool to identify early stage colon cancer. It has significant advantages over colonoscopy as it costs around 50% less per procedure and is non-invasive and, therefore, more comfortable for patients. CT colonography should enable much more widespread screening for colon cancer.  40tude has made a two year commitment to help fund this project which has the potential to be rolled out throughout the UK initially and then globally. Your support would make a significant impact on this initiative, which could transform the early detection rates of colon cancer world-wide.  

PROGRESS: increased understanding of polyps  

40tude is funding a new, exciting research project, called the PROGRESS project, to help advance understanding and clinical management of polyps.

"Bowel cancer develops from pre-cancerous growths in the colon called polyps,” explains Dr. Adam Humphries, Consultant Gastroenterologist and Endoscopy Clinical Lead at St. Mark’s Hospital who will be leading this new study.  “Polyps can be detected through colonoscopy screening and easily removed, preventing colon cancer. However the evolution and cancer risk of polyps is still poorly understood.

“PROGRESS aims to advance our understanding and clinical management of polyps, to enable accurate, personalised clinical risk stratification for patients. By combining clinical outcome data with the latest available gene and protein expression analysis, methods for predicting subsequent polyp growth and cancer risk in individuals will be defined. 

“As a result of this research, limited NHS endoscopic resources could be focused more accurately on those patients at increased risk of PROGRESSion to colon cancer, with unnecessary interventions avoided for low-risk patients,” concludes Adam.

As is the case for the other projects 40tude has supported, this pioneering work could influence national and international guidelines – in this case for treating patients who have polyps detected at colonoscopy, benefiting tens of thousands of people in the UK alone. 

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   Photos courtesy of St. Mark's Hospital

 Photos courtesy of St. Mark's Hospital

Projects previously funded by 40tude:

The FLEX Research Project: 

40tude is proud to have been a supporter of the development of FLEX, a leading-edge surgical technique to treat colon cancer.  This new minimally invasive surgical technique prevents the need for cancer patients to have large sections of their colon removed while still removing the cancer successfully.  This means vastly improved care and a faster post-operative recovery time. FLEX (Full thickness Laparo-endoscopic EXcision) is already saving lives and transforming post-operative recovery times. Professor Robin Kennedy successfully carried out the first operation using the FLEX technique at St. Mark’s Hospital in late 2014. Based on this success, work is now underway to develop formally a prototype and design the process for rolling out the programme to other hospitals in the UK and potentially worldwide. 

Artificial Bowel Project:

40tude has supported the Artificial Bowel Project, a pioneering research programme to engineer new bowel tissue using existing stem cells in a patient. Our donations allowed for the development of a dedicated bioreactor and funded a research post for this combined research programme at St. Mark’s Hospital and the Northwick Park Institute of Medical Research.