RICHARD BLACKWELL PHARSALIA PROFESSOR OF COLORECTAL SURGERY
Cancer Research UK / Royal College of Surgeons of England Advanced Clinician Scientist Fellow
Honorary Consultant Colorectal Surgeon
My research focusses on understanding how colorectal (bowel) cancers evolve and how different mutations change the way cancer cells interact with each other and surrounding tissues.
The lifetime risk of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer is around 1 in 16 and in the UK approximately 45 people every day sadly die from the disease. Unlike some other cancers less progress has been made in identifying new drugs that improve survival rates for patients with colorectal cancer.
Recently, our understanding of colorectal cancer has radically changed. We now know that there are many types of bowel cancer and even different parts of a single patient’s tumour may vary molecularly. My laboratory uses complex gene engineering techniques on surgical biopsies to better understand what drives this variance to help develop improved therapeutics.
My research aims to provide a mechanistic understanding of the implications of colorectal cancer heterogeneity. These experimental data may provide a clinical rationale for the trial of novel chemotherapy drugs or combinatorial treatments that ultimately could improve outcomes for patients with colorectal cancer.