Colon cancer

International collaboration: Enabling more precise treatment in colorectal cancer

  • International
  • Research

RCSI is ranked in the Top 50 in the Times Higher World University 2022 for 'International Outlook'. Our global outlook is underpinned by collaborative partnerships with institutions across the world.

Characterising the gene and protein networks inside colorectal cancer cells and using that information to stratify patients for particular therapeutic interventions is the focus of a tripartite collaboration between RCSI, Queen’s University and GE Healthcare, NY, USA.

The research makes use of Cell DIVE, the state-of-the-art technology developed by Dr Fiona Ginty at GE Healthcare, which allows the examination of tumour tissue samples at a level of detail that has not been possible before.

Examining multiple proteins and different cell types in a single tissue sample means that the biology that drives individual tumours can be defined more clearly.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide and it is predicted that the number of cases will rise to 2.4 million diagnosed per year by 2035. There are a number of treatment options available to colorectal cancer patients and a patient’s response to treatment will depend on the specific type or makeup of their cancer.

Professor Jochen Prehn, who is Professor of Physiology and Medical Physics at RCSI, said: "As a ‘one-size-fits-all’ treatment approach does not work for all patients, a more precise understanding of what happens inside the tissue of colorectal cancers is required. This study will involve the examination of thousands of individual cells in hundreds of tumour samples in a bid to identify novel treatments and develop a diagnostic test that will enable more precise treatment plans for individual patients."

"We are delighted to be working with researchers on the island of Ireland and the US to apply this technology and know it will positively influence patient care."

The research is being led by Dr Fiona Ginty at GE Healthcare, the RCSI Centre for Systems Medicine, Prof. Deborah McNamara and Prof. Elaine Kay from the Departments of Surgery and Pathology at RCSI and Beaumont Hospital, along with Professors Daniel Longley and Mark Lawlor from the School of Medicine at Queen’s University Belfast.

The project is funded by the US National Institutes of Health, Science Foundation Ireland/Health Research Board and the Health and Social Care Research and Development (HSC R&D) Division of the Public Health Agency Northern Ireland/Medical Research Council.

RCSI is committed to achieving a better and more sustainable future through the UN Sustainable Development Goals.