Research projects

Find out more about the research projects that St. Mark's Hospital Foundation support...

St Mark’s attracts specialists from across the globe to study and undertake research. Below are a few of the research areas that our fundraising helps to support:

  • The role of genetics in cancer
  • Minimally invasive surgical techniques
  • Improving patient involvement in decision making
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Tissue engineering and artificial bowel development
  • Personalised medicine, utilizing genomics and gut microbiome
  • The use of 3D imaging to enhance surgical accuracy
  • Enhancing Colonoscopy and CT Colonography cancer diagnosis tools and expertise
  • Surgical Robotics Research programme
  • FAP genetics research

Major Research Projects


BiCyCLe is researching ways of boosting the immune system of bowel cancer patients to help them fight the disease. This research project seeks to gauge a better understanding of the key medical challenges such as sarcopenia, which is weight loss that occurs due to cancer.

Psychological Treatment of Chronic Abdominal Pain

Chronic abdominal pain is currently treated by prescribing mainly opiate-based pain killers. As well as being highly addictive, they can also have other adverse side effects. St Mark’s Hospital Foundation secured funding to undertake research into the psychological treatment of abdominal pain. Online-based Acceptance and Commitment Therapy will be researched as a potential treatment for chronic abdominal pain that could help reduce reliance on painkillers


The accuracy levels for identifying pre-cancerous and cancerous growths by Computer Tomography (CT) Colonography (virtual colonoscopy) vary widely throughout the UK. This level can be as little as 14% in some centres to 100% at St Mark’s. The PERFECTS research programme aims to train CT Colonographers in the UK to a high standard of proficiency and provide professional accreditation to improve the bowel cancer detection rates throughout the country.


Bowel cancer screening and surveillance has been carried out in a standardised way for a decade. PROGRESS will use molecular pathology to understand why some polyps and not others become cancerous, with a view to identifying a biomarker (‘predictor’) of patients at high risk of developing bowel cancer. This knowledge will enable the endoscopy profession to stratify patients according to risk, ensuring that high risk patients receive intense surveillance through regular repeat colonoscopies, and low risk patients are spared from unnecessary procedures.

Contact Us

The Foundation is currently helping to fund the aforementioned and many other research projects. If you would like to find out more information on which projects require your continued support please contact Chief Executive Jason Bacon