The following research projects have been funded by Occtopus.  Miss Helen Jones, one of our specialist colorectal surgeons here in Oxford has been looking at response to radiotherapy and also pathological assessment with early rectal cancer:

Assessment of a 13-gene extracellular matrix signature for predicting radio-sensitivity and outcome in rectal cancer patients

 Rectal cancer: a new gene signature may predict responsiveness to radiotherapy

Radiotherapy is one of the treatment options for rectal cancer, but not all patients are responsive to it. If we could predict which patients would not benefit from it, we could avoid unnecessary radiation and its side effects.

We have recently developed a gene signature that reflects proteins in the structural tissue and may make tissues less sensitive to radiotherapy. We will look for this signature in samples taken from rectal cancers before treatment, and compare this with patient outcomes and effectiveness of radiotherapy to see whether this signature allows us to predict radio-sensitivity and outcomes in rectal cancer patients.

An observational study to correlate the results of ploidy and stroma analysis with prognosis in early rectal cancer

Rectal cancer: ploidy and stroma analysis

When early rectal cancer is removed by minimally-invasive surgery, the standard pathological assessment gives information about how advanced the tumour is. This is important in indicating whether the cancer is likely to recur, and therefore in advising the patient regarding any further treatment. However there is still a lot of uncertainty in these predictions, and we are seeking better tests to improve the pathological assessment.

This study will use advanced digital techniques developed by colleagues in Oslo, Norway, to look at two further tests, ploidy and stroma ratio in the tumour, and compare these test results with outcomes. If these tests give greater accuracy in predicting outcome, we would be better able to advise patients about their prognosis and further management options.

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