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Colon cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer-related deaths in Ireland and represents a significant health problem. In many instances, colon cancer spreads to other organs, which is called metastasis and when this happens it is most likely to result in death. New ways to tackle the problem of colon cancer metastasis have had very little success and therefore new strategies are needed to improve the treatments. The aim of this project is to further our understanding of how cancer cells interact with our immune system. We have already discovered that the body's own immune system affects how colon cancer cells spread. In this research project, we aim to discover the factors that control the immune systems interaction with colon cancer. Blocking these factors would enable us to develop new drugs that could, in turn, be used to make our immune response to cancer stronger. This novel approach to cancer could potentially result in better treatments and consequently a better prognosis and quality of life for patients with colon cancer.
The outcome for colon cancer patients whose disease has spread to elsewhere in the body, a process known as metastasis, is very poor and this project aims to identify ways of preventing this metastasis. Elements of the body's own immune system have been shown play a part in helping these cancer cells metastasise. This project will investigate ways of blocking this unfavourable interaction of the immune system with colon cancer cells in the hope of finding new therapeutic targets for colon cancer patients.
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