Our new blood test could be the key to detecting bowel cancer at it's earliest stage. Image: iStock.

Our new blood test could be the key to reducing bowel cancer rates in the future. Image: iStock.

While Australia has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world, it’s not all bad news. If detected early enough, it’s also one of the most curable types of cancer. And that’s where we hope to make a difference.

Our researchers are developing a new and improved blood test to detect bowel cancer at the earliest possible stage, thanks to an award and grant from the Bupa Health Foundation.

“We’re thrilled that we’ve won this award. It’s exciting to see our researchers getting recognised and rewarded by our peers in the health industry,” says Research Team Leader Leah Cosgrove.

“This project is a significant development in bowel cancer testing. It could soon become part of regular preventive health screening to help lower bowel cancer rates in Australia.”

The diagnostic test is simple, affordable, non-invasive and cancer-specific. It will help to reduce the number of unnecessary colonoscopies that are intrusive and costly.

Lea Cosgrove

Dr Leah Cosgrove (middle) receiving the grant from Bupa’s Steering Committee. Image: Bupa.

Under the new grant, our team will compare their new blood test against the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program’s Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT). They will also assess the blood test’s usefulness as a way to screen and then prioritise colonoscopies for patients who have had blood detected in their FOBT sample.

“There is a clear need for publicly acceptable, minimally invasive, improved tests for the early detection of colorectal cancer,” says Trevor Lockett, Colorectal Cancer and Gut Health Leader.

“If our new test ticks some or all of these boxes, we will be on the right track to significantly reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with this disease.”

June is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month. Find out how you can join the bowel cancer movement.

Media: Andreas Kahl, Andreas.Kahl@csiro.au Phone: (08) 8303 8888 Mobile: 0407 751 330