What issue does this study address?

Bowel cancers are made up of many different kinds of cells, including the tumour cells themselves. The interactions between cells can change things like how easily a tumour spreads to other areas, or if it is resistant to chemotherapy treatment. We currently don’t understand enough about these interactions, meaning potential new ways of treating bowel cancer remain undiscovered.

What are the aims of this study?

This project aims to study how cancer-causing cells interact with their neighbouring cells. Fibroblasts are a kind of cell found within tumours, and tumours with lots of fibroblasts tend to be more aggressive than those with fewer. This project would examine how these different cells interact, and how fibroblasts can stimulate cancerous changes in the bowel.

Findings from this project will help identify key proteins that are involved in colorectal cancer progression and ultimately may lead to novel personalised treatments that can benefit cancer patients.

The research team

Ms Yi Zhou is the PhD student on this project at the University of Oxford. Her supervisors are Professor Simon Buczacki and Professor Alison Simmons.