UCL News


New equipment donated by 'Bottoms Up' bowel cancer charity

5 March 2009

A North-West London charity has donated £100,000 to UCL (University College London) to buy a vital piece of equipment to help research into bowel cancer.

The 'CellSearch' machine, which helps to detect tumour cells in the blood stream, will be presented at a special event next week.

Event: Presentation of equipment by 'Bottoms Up' to UCL scientists

Location: UCL Cancer Institute, Paul O'Gorman building, 72 Huntley Street, London, WC1E 6BT

Date: Wednesday 11th March 2009 at 10am

Photo opportunity: Anthony Glantz's widow Janine and their three daughters will be attending the presentation of the new equipment. Members of the Glantz family and UCL scientists will be available for photographs with the machine

Fundraising for the 'CellSearch' machine began when the husband of one of the charity's committee members, Anthony Glantz, died from bowel cancer, leaving a wife and three young daughters. The machine is one of only a handful in the UK and is dedicated to Anthony's memory.

Bowel cancer, also known as colon or colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer to kill people in the UK, causing more deaths every year than breast and cervical cancer combined. Around 35,000 people will be diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2009.

Dr Tim Meyer, UCL Cancer Institute, said: "The CellSearch machine has been designed to detect individual circulating tumour cells that have become detached from the main tumour and released into the blood stream. The machine is very sensitive and able to detect even one or two cells present in one tube of blood.

"Recent research has shown that the number of circulating cells detected can provide important information about the prognosis in individual patients, and can also be used to detect relapse or disease progression.

"More recently the machine has also been shown to be valuable in terms of monitoring patients' response to treatment and research is now underway to perform more sophisticated analysis of cancer cells from individual patients without the need for a biopsy - a medical test involving the removal of cells or tissue for examination."

Professor Chris Boshoff, Director of the UCL Cancer Institute, added: "The generous funding raised by Bottoms Up, combined with funding from the National Institute for Health Research, has allowed us to purchase this equipment and fund a technician and running costs. We believe that this initiative will play an important role in the monitoring of patients being treated for bowel cancer and that this technology will play an expanding role in cancer research within UCL."

The £60million UCL Cancer Institute opened in 2007 and brings together cancer research across UCL and its partner hospitals.


Notes for Editors

1. For more information, or to interview the researchers quoted, please contact Ruth Metcalfe in the UCL Media Relations Office on tel: +44 (0)20 7679 9739, mobile: +44 (0)7990 675 947, out of hours +44 (0)7917 271 364, e-mail: r.metcalfe@ucl.ac.uk

2. Any media wishing to attend the photocall should register with UCL Media Relations using the above contact details.

3. April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month. Case studies and comment can be provided by Lynn's Bowel Cancer Campaign, tel: 020 8892 2409, email: info@bowelcancer.tv