ACRCelerate: Colorectal Cancer Stratified Medicine Network

12th October 2018

Six international collaborations aimed at accelerating translational research have been awarded a total of £30m, CRUK has announced. One of the projects - named ACRCelerate - will be led by Owen Sansom here at the Beatson Institute and aims to pave the way for personalised bowel cancer treatment.

Colorectal cancer (CRC) remains the second most common cause of cancer death, and patients with stage 4 cancers at diagnosis have less than a 10% survival rate at 5 years1. This is mainly due to the ineffectiveness of current chemotherapy treatments for late-stage and advanced metastatic disease. Furthermore, despite advances in our understanding of the biology of these tumours, there have been disappointingly few advances in CRC therapy in the last 20 years. Recent work has highlighted the importance of the chemical messages that arise from cells that support the tumour (tumour microenvironment), yet current therapies predominantly only target the dividing tumour cells themselves. Thus there is an urgent need for novel chemotherapeutic treatments in CRC, including those that can harness and manipulate the power of the cancer microenvironment.

The ACRCelerate project will bring together a European-wide consortium of basic and clinical scientists at the forefront of CRC research to interrogate a suite of state-of-the art preclinical models. The overarching aim of ACRCelerate is to generate robust and reproducible preclinical data to de-risk future clinical trials via patient stratification. Specifically, the various models will be categorised into subtypes based on their gene activity so that treatments can be aimed at particular subgroups of patients. In doing so, the network will be able to accelerate the next generation of stratified trials for CRC through accurate disease subtype positioning. Using this preclinical testing platform, the consortium aims to accelerate the identification and development of new drugs for CRC.

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Other institutions that will be involved in the project include the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, the Universities of Oxford, Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh, Queen's University Belfast, the Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment at Candiolo, the Institut d'Investigació Biomèdica de Bellvitge, Vall d’Hebron University Hospital and the Instituto de Recerca Biomédica.

Also see the press release from Cancer Research UK.


1. Cancer Research UK,, Accessed 21st September 2018.


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