Dr Colin Steele - Advanced Colorectal Cancer


Research Fellow, Senior Clinical Lecturer in Colorectal Surgery

Honorary Consultant Surgeon, Glasgow Royal Infirmary

Steele 2023

Colorectal cancer patients die as a result of metastatic progression or disease recurrence following surgery. Though surgery can cure some patients of colorectal cancer with liver limited disease, the vast majority cannot be treated effectively. Current systemic therapies offer modest survival benefits. Understanding the mechanisms of metastatic progression in the most aggressive forms of colorectal cancer will permit therapeutic targeting in the future alongside surgery to improve outcomes for my patients.

My current research interests focus on the immune microenvironment of locally advanced and metastatic colorectal cancer. We have identified the importance of common white blood cells – neutrophils – in driving metastatic progression in models of cancer. Using state-of-the-art in vivo models and human specimens, I am currently seeking to understand the interactions between neutrophil populations, other immune cells and tumour cells in driving progression of colorectal cancer. This work will help to identify vulnerabilities in the immune system that may be harnessed with immunotherapies to target more aggressive colorectal cancer. My clinical work at Glasgow Royal Infirmary operating on patients with locally advanced rectal cancer provides an opportunity to interact with this patient group, obtain relevant clinical samples and help prioritise my research.

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