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Supporting Innovative Research

The Alliance’s mission is to end colorectal cancer in our lifetime. By supporting innovative colorectal cancer research by top doctors and scientists, we take important steps toward realizing our vision — a world free of this disease.

Click on a type of research below to see who is using our funding to accelerate treatment, prevention, and a cure. 

Research Focus: Rectal Cancer

Dr. J. Joshua Smith, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Development of an Accurate Model for More Precise Treatment of the Rectal Cancer Patient

Study Description: Dr. J. Joshua Smith developed a model for the precise treatment of rectal cancer known as organoids, which better mimic patient-specific characteristics and serve as the optimal model for studying rectal cancer biology. These organoids are grown from very small amounts of tissue. This model has changed our ability to study rectal cancer and individual responses to treatment, providing patients with more precise therapies. Dr. Smith and team have published articles on their findings in three journals and, as a result of findings through the Alliance grant, have received a multi-million dollar grant from the National Cancer Institute.

Michael White, MD - University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

Optimizing the gut microbiome and response to neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy

Study Description: Dr. White plans to study the correlation between the gut microbiome (the microorganisms that live in the human intestine), their circulating metabolites, and immune infiltrates in locally advanced rectal tumors. Previous research has shown that the microbiome is different in certain patients who respond to chemotherapy prior to surgery and have cancer-free survival.  Patients who have a complete response to chemotherapy can safely be offered a period of observation and may be able to forego surgery altogether.  The study team hopes to demonstrate that altering the microbiome within rectal tumors will improve response to presurgical chemotherapy.

2022 Chris4Life Colorectal Cancer Alliance Early Career Investigator Award

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