These are the research projects that BDRF have funded.
If you’re thinking about starting your own project and would like to apply for a bursary, please see our how to apply page.
All of our work is reliant on fundraising – we get no financial support from the government. If you would like to support our work we would be delighted if you would consider making a donation here.
Lymph Node Positivity in Patients with ANal Cancer treated in the Modern Era: prognostic impact and patterns of locoregional relapse (L‐NuANCE)
This project is the first to study a clinical dilemma in the treatment of anal cancer (AC).
There are 1,200 new AC cases each year in the UK and numbers are growing. Initial treatment is chemo‐radiotherapy (CRT) with radiotherapy (RT). Local relapse occurs in 15-20% of cases; these require major specialist surgery. Overall, complications from treatment are common.
If cancer spreads in AC, it is to lymph glands, and is known as positive lymph node (LN+). Historically, LN+ is associated with a bad outcome.
New radiotherapy techniques, which focus radiation on the tumour and LN+, but are more intensive, are soon to be tested in a national trial. At the same time, new imaging techniques, such as MR and PET‐CT scans, have substantially increased the detection of LN+.
The dilemma is that the new imaging methods may over‐diagnose LN+ and therefore lead to unnecessary treatment, while the new more focused radiotherapy may be too targeted and miss early undetected LN+.
Patient Outcomes in Coloproctology and their Correlation with Resources for Treatment within the NHS
800,000 people in the UK suffer from a serious bowel disease.
This project will map the services that are currently provided to support people with bowel disease through their patient pathway. Such a mapping exercise has never been undertaken
comprehensively before, making this study a unique exercise in the field. The project will also map various outcomes for patients to look at the impact of provision of patient services on outcomes.
Will a new non-invasive stool test predict accurately whether or not a patient has bowel cancer, thus removing the need for widespread colonoscopy to determine this, and enabling colonoscopy to be restricted to patients at greater risk of cancer?
Unfortunately, there are no reliable symptoms which predict the presence of bowel cancer or pre-cancerous polyps in the bowel. An invasive colonoscopy remains the gold standard investigation; results for the vast majority show no cancer is present.
A new stool test (FIT – Faecal Immunochemical Test) has been developed which detects human blood in faeces. Preliminary studies suggest this may be a good screening test, as levels are high with cancer and pre-cancerous polyps. We wish to measure whether these levels fall back to normal if the polyp is removed.
Desmoid tumours are rare, benign growths. They are 1,000 times more common in people affected by an inherited gene condition called familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP).
Desmoids can be life threatening when they grow aggressively, particularly in the abdomen where they can lead to impairment of kidney function due to compression, bowel blockage and perforation, infection and even death.
Does the presence of a particular variety of a certain virus indicate that combined chemotherapy and radiotherapy (CRT) is more likely to destroy all the tumour in rectal cancer, and so mean that later invasive and hazardous surgery is no longer necessary?
In the UK there are about 15,000 new cases of rectal cancer each year. Surgery is the main treatment.
Advanced disease is treated before surgery with a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy (CRT). The purpose is to reduce the tumour’s size, and surgery usually follows 8 to 15 weeks later. This combination of CRT and surgery is associated with considerable mortality around the time of the surgery, and later by long-term morbidity.
Fortunately, in 15% to 20% of cases, CRT results in complete disappearance of the tumour. In these patients a “wait-and-see” policy (that is, no surgery but regular follow-up) may be an alternative to major surgery, and could represent a new paradigm for treating rectal cancer. The problem is that to date science has not identified either any factors to enable us to predict when complete disappearance of the tumour will occur, or any factors to make it more likely.
A UK-wide comparative audit of acute lower gastrointestinal bleeding (LGIB) and the use of blood transfusions in hospital treatment, to improve outcomes (including a lower death rate) for patients
In the UK bleeding from the bowel is one of the commonest reasons for admission to hospital with an acute surgical problem; treatment often requires one or more blood transfusions.
Oncological outcomes after “clinical Complete Response” in patients with rectal cancer: a case-control study
There are approximately 15,000 new cases of rectal cancer in the UK per year. Surgery is the mainstay of treatment which is associated with peri-operative mortality and long-term morbidity. Locally advanced disease is treated initially with ‘downstaging’ pre-operative chemo-radiotherapy (CRT), followed by surgery 8 to 15 weeks later.
Anal cancer is a relatively rare cancer (UK: 1000 cases/ year), but its treatment carries significant morbidity. Current multimodal therapy with external-beam radiotherapy and chemotherapy achieves long-term disease-free survival rates over 70%, with abdominoperineal resection of the rectum reserved for salvage of persisting or recurrent disease.
A national multi-centre review of the current management and outcomes of perianal abscesses. This is a prospective study prior to the Packing of Perianal Abscess Cavities (PPAC) Trial, a randomised multicentre trial comparing packing with non-packing of perianal abscess cavities
Perianal abscess is a common surgical condition originating from an infected anal gland. Obstruction of these glands leads to stasis, bacterial overgrowth and ultimately an abscess develops in the intersphincteric space.
Making radiotherapy for rectal cancer more effective by identifying which drugs should be used for individual patients
When diagnosed, over 5000 patients every year in the UK have rectal cancer that cannot be surgically removed unless it can first be shrunk by chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Doctors UK-wide currently treat all these patients with exactly the same chemotherapy and radiotherapy over 5 weeks.