Bowel cancer is a preventable disease. If early bowel cancers are detected, they can be removed and more than 95% of patients can be cured. Yet more than 5000 Australians still die from this cancer each year. The research of the Gut Cancer group aims to better prevent, find and treat these cancers.

The Gut Cancer group investigates how the bacterial community in our gut is changed in cancer and the role this plays in promoting this disease. They also focus on using safe, well tolerated probiotics that naturally seek out cancer. With their US-based collaborators they engineer probiotics to release a signal to better detect precancerous lesions or to deliver drugs directly to tumours, limiting side effects. Alternately they are developing new gene therapy approaches, based on technology successfully used in humans to treat blood disorders, to target disease that has spread to the liver.

Together with their Australian research partners, the Gut Cancer group assesses personalised treatment regimens for advanced disease using patient samples grown in the lab. If this works, it will guide therapy choice for patients, reducing unwarranted side-effects and picking the treatment that will work most effectively for each patient.