Posted on: December 20, 2017

Innovation in Surgical Robotics for Bowel Disease

The Surgical Robotics Research Programme at St Mark’s Hospital. An initiative supported by the Foundation.

St Mark’s is currently undertaking a wide spectrum of research and education programmes to develop life-saving, minimally invasive surgery and treatments for advanced bowel cancer and other bowel diseases. This research is built on employing the most advanced systems and technology and this is where surgical robotics features very strongly in our long term strategic plan.


Surgery has improved the survival rate from bowel cancer from 2% without surgery to more than 50% with surgery, yet it is still the second highest cancer killer. To increase the survival rate we must improve surgery and robotic surgery is the next big breakthrough.

Robotic surgery improves the long term quality of life of survivors because it is minimally invasive, causing less blood and tissue loss, and less scarring.


Enabled by our support, St Mark’s Hospital has added robotic surgery as another tool for surgeons to use to combat bowel cancer and investigate its application to surgery for Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Our research objectives:

Through rigorous research, St Mark’s will test the hypothesis that robotic surgery for bowel cancer improves the survival rate and long term health outcomes of patients compared to open and keyhole surgery.

Our clinical objectives:

St Mark’s Hospital has successfully introduced a robotic surgical programme for bowel cancer. One of our objectives is to contribute to the evidence on the effectiveness of robotic surgery in other colorectal diseases such the inflammatory bowel diseases, Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis for which the lifetime surgical risk for the disease is very high: 70% and 30% respectively.

Our training objectives:

St Mark’s Hospital aims to become an educational hub for robotic colorectal surgery in the UK and Europe to avoid a future shortage of expertly trained robotic surgeons. As an academic centre of excellence, our translational research experience will be used to design best models of practice and training. The surgeons that enrol on our courses will take the knowledge and hands-on experience of robotic colorectal surgery to the populations they serve. Our aim is to become one of Europe’s most important research and education hubs. The history and reputation of St Mark’s Hospital will facilitate this ambition.



The St Mark’s Hospital Foundation has raised to date almost £1million to support the funding of the capital costs of the robotic surgical system. This funding has enabled the hospital to take delivery of a Da Vinci Xi surgical robot in March 2018 from the industry leader, Intuitive Surgical Inc. With the help of loyal donors and new contributors donating at all levels of giving, we are continuing to fund raise to support the future capital costs of the programme.

To discuss donating to the Surgical Robotics Programme, please contact Jason Bacon, CEO of St Mark’s Hospital Foundation, on (020) 8235 4042 and

You can also contact Ms Riyah Talati, Trusts & Foundations Fundraising Manager, on (020) 8235 4023 and