Bowel cancer is deadly, but it is not the primary tumour in the bowel that ultimately kills people – this happens when cancer spreads to other parts of the body.

Cancer spreads through the bloodstream when cells escape from the site of the primary tumour and are carried to different organs. When bowel cancer is caught before it has spread, the likelihood of successful treatment is much higher.

A  potentially life-saving step forward would be to understand how bowel cancer cells spread to other organs. Once understood we could prevent it through treatment.

BDRF funded researchers in Leicester believe platelets, the cells that cause blood to clot when we are cut, could be involved in carrying cancer cells round the body and seeding them in other organs.

Their work aims to disrupt this process with anti-platelet drugs Aspirin and Ticagrelor. These drugs are usually used to treat people at risk of heart attacks, but our project aims to see if they could also help stop bowel cancer tumours spreading, preventing the interaction between cancer cells and platelets.

Preventing the spread of bowel cancer is absolutely crucial to saving lives from the disease. Our work could unlock a new method of treatment that, while not curing cancer, could block its spread and enable surgeons to simply remove the bowel tumour.

Life-saving research like this wouldn’t be possible without the support of our donors and fundraisers – so please consider becoming one of them today. With your help, we can fund more projects like this and unlock better treatments sooner.

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