What issue does this study address?

Colorectal cancers are typically treated by chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgical removal. However, despite treatment, up to 50% of patients develop recurrence of disease – that is, the cancer returns either close to the original site or having spread to other places in the body. This indicates that treatment was not successful at removing all of the cancer cells. We still do not fully understand why some tumours are more likely to recur and spread after treatment.

What are the aims of this study?

This team’s research has previously shown that stiffer, denser tumours were associated higher risk of recurrence, and that this stiffness is connected to a particular protein. The PhD student would make mini-tumours in the laboratory to test new strategies of targeting this stiffness protein, which could potentially lead to new treatment strategies to reduce colorectal cancer recurrence after treatment.

The research team

The supervisor of this project is Dr Nick Peake who is based at Sheffield Hallam University and specialises in how the environment around and within tumours contributes to their development and spread.