Successful Publication in GUT!

This month the centre successfully published results on the Clinical Application of a systems model of apoptosis execution for the preditiction of colorectal cancer therapy responses and personalisation of therapy. 
Key to the clinical management of colorectal cancer is identifying tools which aid in assessing patient prognosis and determining more effective and personalised treatment strategies. We evaluated whether an experimental systems biology strategy which analyses the susceptibility of cancer cells to undergo caspase activation can be exploited to predict patient responses to 5-fluorouracil-based chemotherapy and to case-specifically identify potential alternative targeted treatments to reactivate apoptosis. Comparisons of caspase activity profiles demonstrated that the likelihood of colorectal tumours to undergo apoptosis decreases with advancing disease stage. Systems-level analysis correctly predicted positive or negative outcome in 85% (p=0.004) of colorectal cancer patients receiving 5-fluorouracil based chemotherapy and significantly outperformed common uni- and multi-variate statistical approaches. Modelling of individual patient responses to novel apoptosis-inducing therapeutics revealed markedly different inter-individual responses.Our study represents the first proof-of-concept example demonstrating the significant clinical potential of systems biology-based approaches for predicting patient outcome and responsiveness to novel targeted treatment paradigms.