New research has discovered a single gene target that could play a key role in improving survival rates among advanced bowel cancer sufferers.
A Cancer Research Wales and Tenovus-funded study conducted at Cardiff University has isolated a genetic region that is able to boost the activity of the nearby EIF3H gene, which is often associated with poor cancer survival.
According to findings presented at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference this week, bowel cancer sufferers with faults in this region survive for three months less on average than those without.
It is now thought that developing drugs to block the gene could help to prolong survival among patients in the future.
Chris Smith, one of the researchers involved in the study, said: "This is the first genetic region identified through genome-wide association studies shown to influence both survival and response to treatment in patients with advanced bowel cancer."
According to Cancer Research UK statistics, bowel cancer is the third most common variant of the condition in the country.