The Gastro-Intestinal project group focuses on a number of important clinical problems within the colorectal and gastro-oesophageal cancer early and advanced disease settings.
The major goals of the focus group are the identification of novel targets, in particular for specific molecular subtypes (eg: mutant Kras and mutant Braf), the identification of biomarkers for response to chemotherapy and novel targeted agents and the implementation of both research approaches into novel adaptive clinical trial designs.
The focus group involves basic scientists, clinician scientists, academic clinicians from CCRCB and the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (BHSCT), pathologists, bio-informaticians and medicial chemists.
An example of the studies already underway in the Gastro-Intestinal focus group is the identification of novel targets and pathways involved in chemotherapy resistance in colorectal cancer. Other areas of focus include:
- Identification and targeting of clinically relevant molecular and genetic subtypes in early stage colorectal cancer;
- Development of gene signatures to predict response to chemotherapy treatment in colorectal cancer and gastro-oesophageal cancer;
- Kras biology and identification of novel targets synthetic lethal for Kras mutant colorectal cancer tumours;
- FLIP as a target and prognostic/predictive biomarker;
- ADAM17 as a target and prognostic/predictive biomarker in KrasWT/MT colorectal cancer;
- Development of investigator initiated clinical studies (eg: MEK1/2 inhibitory agents, HDAC inhibitors in GI tumours).
Members of this group are also involved as clinical or scientific partners in several national and international phase I-III trials and are part of the NCRI colorectal/upper GI clinical studies groups and/or EORTC GI group.