Biomarkers detect cancers before they appear
Biomarkers to nip bowel cancer in the bud
The partnership between CSIRO, the Flinders University of South Australia and medical diagnostic technology company Enterix may be able to prevent more than half of full colorectal cancer cases.
1 December 2005 | Updated 10 October 2012
Identifying cancer before it appears sounds like an impossibility but it is not as improbable as it seems - thanks to the work of research scientists who are investigating novel diagnostics for colorectal cancer.
About the partnership
The Preventative Health Flagship is working in partnership with the Flinders University of South Australia in Adelaide, and medical diagnostic technology company Enterix.
Enterix is a company committed to the development of diagnostics for use in colorectal cancer screening.
The partnership is tackling a project to identify biomarkers that can be used to identify pre-cancerous adenomas, a proportion of which are capable of progressing to cancer.
Project leaders include :
- Professor Graeme Young from Flinders University
- CSIRO doctoral student Dr Larry LaPointe, who is also Chief Technical Officer and co-founder of Enterix.
This Preventative Health Flagship project includes scientists from:
- CSIRO Materials Science and Engineering (CMSE)
- CSIRO Livestock Industries (CLI)
- CSIRO Mathematical and Information Sciences (CMIS).
CMIS researcher Dr Rob Dunne plays an important role in the project, which involves bioinformatics - the application of information technology, statistics and mathematics to biological problems involving large volumes of data with complex interrelationships.
Finding biomarkers for earliest-stage colorectal cancer will help to lower mortality rates in individuals at risk of developing this disease.
Researchers are using genomic and proteomic approaches to identify sensitive, cancer-specific markers of early-stage colorectal cancer.
Dr Peter Molloy of CMSE directs the project's molecular gene microarray and epigenetics-based cancer marker discovery experiments while Dr Leah Cosgrove, also from CMSE, leads the protein cancer marker discovery program.
Clinical partners are critical to the success of the approach. Here the Preventative Health Flagship is fortunate to be working with:
- the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
- Prof. Graeme Young from Flinders Medical Centre, Flinders University of South Australia
- Prof. Finlay Macrae from Melbourne Health, Melbourne.
'This is exciting research which synthesises mathematics, molecular biology and clinical science allowing CSIRO to work in partnership with others to help Australians live better quality, healthier lives through early diagnosis,' says Preventative Health Flagship Novel Diagnostics leader Dr Lockett.
Dr Trevor Lockett, Theme Leader Colorectal Cancer & Gut Health, says being able to identify biomarkers for colorectal cancer at its earliest stages is essential in the drive to lower mortality rates in individuals at risk of developing this disease.
'If colorectal adenomas can be detected early and removed, it is estimated that more than 50 per cent of full cancer cases could be prevented,’ he says.
Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in Australia.
Learn about CSIRO's work in Health and Wellbeing.