40tude is currently helping to fund two bespoke pioneering projects in progress at St. Mark's Hospital in Harrow, the national bowel hospital:  

PERFECTS: High-quality CT Colonography Screening 

The PERFECTS programme is a Training and Quality Assurance tool to improve and monitor the quality of CT colonographies in the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programmes.

CT Colonography can be a highly effective screening tool to identify early stage colon cancer.  This CT scanner-based test is non-invasive and is therefore more comfortable for patients than some other screening options. It also provides the ability to look at the other organs in the abdomen and pelvis outside the colon, including the appendix.

The PERFECTS programme is designed to train more radiologists in CT Colonography, with the aim of making this type of high-quality screening for colon cancer much more widely available throughout the NHS. More than 70 radiologists have now received the PERFECTS method of training in this 'gold standard' method of cancer screening.  The project's leaders have shared their approach and findings with their international colleagues, extending the reach of this exciting training and evaluation programme and potentially transforming the early detection rates of colon cancer both nationally and globally.  

PROGRESS: increased understanding of polyps - the precursors to colon cancer

40tude is funding also a pioneering research project, called the PROGRESS project, to help advance the understanding and clinical management of polyps.

Bowel cancer develops from pre-cancerous growths in the colon called polyps. Polyps can be detected through colonoscopy screening and easily removed, preventing colon cancer. 

Patients who have polyps detected and removed are considered at an increased risk of colon cancer and so are potentially enrolled into long-term surveillance, usually through colonoscopy. The PROGRESS team are working to achieve a biomarker which accurately predicts which patients will never progress to colon cancer, potentially reducing the need for unnecessary intervention and procedures, benefiting both the patient and the NHS.

As a result of this research NHS resources could be focused more accurately on those patients at increased risk of developing colon cancer, with unnecessary interventions avoided for low-risk patients.

As is the case for the other projects 40tude has supported, this pioneering work could influence national and international guidelines – in this case for treating patients who have polyps detected, benefiting tens of thousands of people in the UK alone. 

For more information on the research 40tude is helping to fund and the impact this is having in curing colon cancer, please see our 2019 Year in Review film

photos showing medics at St. Marks Hospital

Other projects funded:

Previously 40tude has helped to fund the FLEX project at St. Mark's, the development of a leading-edge surgical technique to treat colon cancer.  This less-invasive surgical technique prevents the need for cancer patients to have large sections of their colon removed while still removing the cancer successfully. This results in faster post-operative recovery time.

40tude has supported the Artificial Bowel Project, a pioneering research programme to engineer new bowel tissue using existing stem cells in a patient. Our donations allowed for the development of a dedicated bioreactor and funded a research post for this combined research programme at St. Mark’s Hospital and the Northwick Park Institute of Medical Research.

In addition 40tude has provided funds to support the development of robotic surgery for colorectal surgery at St. Mark’s Hospital.  Robotic surgery is a minimally invasive and precise surgical technique which has many advantages over other types of surgery.  In 2017, St Mark’s took delivery of the Da Vinci xi robot, which is the most advanced surgical robotics platform currently available, and through their Surgical Robotics Research Programme are leading the education and training of surgeons on this new advanced facility, the only surgical robotics platform in the UK dedicated to bowel surgery.