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RCSI researchers lead colorectal cancer drug discovery

The Irish based team were working with international collaborators on the research that aims to make sure that patients only receive drugs that will work specifically for their own disease.

According to the RCSI by knowing in advance which patients would not benefit from Avastin, individuals could be spared the side-effects of the drug, “and are more likely to receive optimal treatment with a minimum of delay, while reducing cost of care”.

The study, led by researchers at RCSI and the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology in Belgium is published this month in the international journal Nature Communications.

”We have drawn on knowledge emerging from global efforts to characterise the complex genetic alterations that underpin the progression of colorectal cancer,” said Professor Annette Byrne, Associate Professor at RCSI’s Department of Physiology and Medical Physics.

“We have demonstrated that tumours with intermediate-to-high chromosomal instability have improved outcome after Avastin treatment, whereas tumours characterised by low chromosomal instability benefit less. This work further builds on our recent Journal of Clinical Oncology study and has identified a complementary biomarker strategy that could be used by doctors in the future to distinguish between patients who will benefit from Avastin and patients who will not respond.”

The international research team was led in Ireland by Professor Byrne (RCSI) and in Belgium (VIB-KU Leuven) by Prof Diether Lambrechts.

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