Inaugural Lawrence Penn Chair of Bowel Cancer Research, Mark Molloy, believes molecular testing of pre-cancerous bowel polyps can reveal why some polyps remain harmless while others turn deadly.

Anyone can develop bowel polyps, but they are more common among people who are overweight, smoke, or have a personal or family history of bowel polyps or bowel cancer.
Even among very healthy people, bowel polyps are likely to develop as a part of the aging process, which is why bowel screening is so essential.

However, bowel polyps don’t necessarily become cancerous and unless you develop symptoms, you are unlikely to even know you have them.

Professor Molloy believes the burden of bowel cancer in Australia will decrease as researchers gain a clearer picture of polyp biology through molecular analysis.

“Identifying the unique differences which determine why some polyps become cancerous will help decrease the burden of bowel cancer in Australia by improving earlier detection of dangerous polyps and ensuring timely follow-up colonoscopy for their removal,” Professor Molloy said.

It was decided by peer review that the Lawrence Penn Chair's cutting-edge research was of great scientific merit: it was also determined through consumer review to be of significant value to the community.

After reviewing multiple submissions from across the country, Cancer Council NSW awarded Professor Molloy $450,000 over three-years towards this cutting-edge research.