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Colorectal cancer is the second most common type of internal cancer in Australians.

Colorectal cancer and gut health

The Preventative Health Flagship aims to reduce Australia’s colorectal cancer burden and improve gut health by developing prevention strategies and improving the success rate of existing and emerging therapies.

  • 23 December 2008 | Updated 7 August 2012

Why study colorectal cancer and gut health?

Colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and infectious diarrhoea are serious diseases of the gut that are common throughout the world.

These conditions seem to be different manifestations of a core problem – the development of an unfavourable gut environment in susceptible individuals.

Colorectal cancer is the second most common type of internal cancer in Australians, with over 12 500 cases diagnosed every year. It affects both men and women.

If detected early, up to 90 per cent of people diagnosed with colorectal cancer will survive beyond five years. However, if the cancer is undetected until a later stage it becomes harder to treat, so survival rates become much lower.

The Preventative Health Flagship is providing cutting-edge expertise in genomics, proteomics and mathematical skills and working with leading clinicians to:

Our overarching goal is to reduce the burden of colorectal cancer and improve the success rate of existing and emerging therapies.
  • identify early indicators of colorectal cancer
  • identify those who are at high risk of  colorectal cancer
  • develop detection and diagnostic tools which are more sensitive and accurate than those currently in use.

The Preventative Health Flagship aims to discover and commercialise one to two new biomarkers and one to two new diagnostic techniques for assessing colorectal cancer risk by 2012.

We also aim to commercialise one to two foods protective against colorectal cancer by 2010.

How is CSIRO addressing national challenges in colorectal cancer and gut health?

Preventative Health Flagship research is centred on prevention, susceptibility, early detection and diagnosis of colorectal cancer. Current focus areas include:

Our overarching goal is to reduce the burden of colorectal cancer and improve the success rate of existing and emerging therapies. To achieve this, we are coupling nutritional and lifestyle disease prevention strategies with related research into early disease diagnosis.

Contact us

If you are interested in forming research collaborations or commercial partnerships to facilitate the successful development of diagnostics and biomarkers for colorectal cancer, contact the Preventative Health Flagship.