Dame Deborah James would have been “thrilled” to hear that money raised from her Bowelbabe fund, has helped to fund a major breakthrough in the treatment of bowel cancer, her friends have revealed.
The journalist and cancer campaigner, sadly died after losing her battle with bowel cancer back in June, but a research fund set up in her honour and aptly named the Bowelbabe has now helped to fund a vital breakthrough in cancer research that could potentially save the lives of millions.
The breakthrough, which was funded by Cancer Research UK, a recipient of the Bowelbabe fund, meant that doctors had found a way to stop late stage bowel cancer tumours from growing.
The team, which was lead by Dr Kevin Myant, discovered that by targeting a specific gene, they could block the messages the body sends that tell the cancer to grow – yet crucially, leave healthy cells unaffected.
The ground-breaking new discovery could potentially change the way the disease is managed, and offers a ray of hope to those who are diagnosed at a much later stage than others.
Speaking about the breakthrough, Steve Bland the widower of Rachael Bland, who presented You, Me and Big C podcast alongside Dame Deborah, said that he thought the campaigner would be “thrilled” by the news.
He told The Mirror: "It’s extraordinary what’s happening in the world of cancer and the speed at which research is moving.
"The passion and drive that people have to make the lives of cancer patients better is amazing. I’m sure this is something Deb would have been thrilled about.
"Deb did so much and she was so passionate about research but we won’t get to see the impact of the fundraising she did for decades to come.”
Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK, with around 43,000 people diagnosed with the disease each year.
It is also the second most common cause of cancer deaths in the UK, with around 16,500 people sadly succumbing to the disease annually.
Yet according to Dr. Myrant, this could soon be subject to change, as he added: “There is an urgent need for better treatments for bowel cancer, particularly where it is caught at a later stage.
"This research could open up new approaches to treating bowel cancer in the future.”
A Cancer Research UK spokesman also commented: “The Bowelbabe Fund for Cancer Research UK will support causes and projects that Deborah was passionate about.
"These include funding clinical trials and research into personalised medicine that could result in new treatments for cancer patients.”
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