Colon Cancer DOT

 For More Information

Gastrointestinal Cancer Program

Colon Cancer DOT Progress Report

Support the Colon Cancer DOT

Colon cancer, also called colorectal cancer, includes polyps that begin in the colon or the rectum and become cancerous. With 44 members on the team, the Colon DOT researches projects to make innovative advancements in cancer treatments.


Neli Ulrich

Neli Ulrich, PhD

Igacio Garrido Laguna

Ignacio Garrido-Laguna, MD, PhD

The goals of researchers and clinicians in the Colon Team include the following:

  • Find defective cell functions that lead to gastrointestinal (GI) cancers
  • Develop unique treatments for patients with advanced colorectal cancer
  • Characterize inherited risk factors that lead to GI cancers
  • Develop animal models of GI cancers

Research that Makes a Difference

  • A Clinical Trial to Test a New Drug
    • Nearly 40% of patients with advanced colorectal cancer have tumors that contain a gene mutation called KRAS. A clinical trial designed by Huntsman Cancer Institute investigator Dr. Garrido-Laguna evaluates how standard chemotherapy reacts with a drug called MEK162 to block molecules from signaling a cancer-causing pathway. In this study, HCI investigator Dr. Andrea Bild will evaluate a gene signature that predicts which pathways are activated and the cells’ response to MEK162.
  • Looking at the Gut to Develop Better Treatment
    • Microbiomes are bacteria that live and work in partnership with the body. A research project by the Colon Team examines the relationship between microbial communities found in the gut and new drug treatment. Researchers study how the microbiomes react to chemotherapy or immunotherapy so they can create more effective treatments for patients.
  • The Need for Healthy Controls in Cancer Studies
    • In all scientific experiments, a control group is a key part of process. In a clinical trial, the control group does not receive the new treatment being studied. This group can then be compared to the group that receives the new treatment, to see if the new treatment works. The Colon Team is developing a resource of data of cancer-free individuals to serve as controls when they test new drugs.
  • Patient Education and Support Program
    • For people discovering that they, or members of their family, are at increased risk of developing cancer, the knowledge can be devastating. The Colon Team focuses on providing patient-friendly education and support that will empower people to manage their health. In collaboration with Huntsman Cancer Foundation, the Colon Team will initiate a Patient Day educational event. This will be a year-long program with regular group meetings.

Donate to the Colon Cancer Disease Oriented Team (DOT) Now>>>