Early Diagnosis and Prevention of Colorectal Disease

Early diagnosis is a powerful way to improve cancer survival. Investigative techniques need to be performed well to maximise performance and tolerability.

St Mark’s Wolfson Unit for Endoscopy has been recognised as a World Endoscopy Organisation centre of excellence. The radiology centre is a national leader in performing CT colonography and educating others in this technique.

Currently medicine is poor at assessing individual risks. New genetic technologies and knowledge will allow personalised risk stratification and prognostication in these various groups. Genomic medicine is the use of genomic information about an individual as part of clinical care. We have already brought genomic medicine into the clinical setting in gastrointestinal disease but new, high throughput technologies will vastly widen the scope of this. We are already identifying and managing individuals at very high risk of colorectal cancer but this will soon expand to include prediction of moderate risk. Using genomic medicine to stratify an individual’s risk allows for personalised surveillance regimes to be tailored.

St Mark’s is uniquely placed in this field:

  • We are already a world leader in inherited colorectal cancer, hosting the world’s oldest and largest Polyposis Registry, a regional family cancer clinic and have close links with the regional genetics service in London North West Healthcare NHS Trust. We already integrate genetic information into clinical practice.
  • St Mark’s is a recognised centre of excellence for IBD. St Mark’s has the largest and longest running IBD surveillance programme worldwide, designed to detect cancer in these patients at its earliest stages.
  • Already we have established academic collaborations with scientists involved in the study of tissue predictors for colorectal cancer risk and risk stratification in the progression of benign but pre-cancerous lesions.
  • We have an established track record in the translation of new advances into clinical practice.