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Dr. Gregor Kijanka as featured in the Irish Daily Mirror



Bowel cancer is the second-most common cause of cancer death in Ireland. A blood test currently being developed at the BDI will sample antibodies in patients identified with the illness, thus allowing for early intervention.

The research, being led by the BDI's Dr Gregor Kijanka, has been looking at the possibility that the immune system can recognise colorectal cancer cells or tumours. Initial findings show that changes in cells that lead to colorectal cancer are sometimes seen by the human immune system, which makes antibodies against it. While these antibodies are not strong enough to defeat the cancer, they can help to detect cancer very early, before it grows large and becomes life threatening to the patient. If the new test proves a success, it could be a life saver for the many of the 2,200 people who develop the disease each year.

The research is part of a €30million fund that the Irish Cancer Society has delivered to research projects over the past three decades. To mark Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, the Irish Cancer Society showcased this ongoing research in a number of articles including the Irish Times, the Irish Daily Mail, the Daily Mirror and in the Medical Independent.

Professor John Fitzpatrick, head of research of the Irish Cancer Society, said: 'Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in the country. A blood test for bowel cancer has the potential to improve the capability and cost effectiveness of early detection. It will not replace colonoscopy but rather influence clinical decision-making.'