Red Trouser Day funds Dr Aishani Sachdeva to explore the function of klotho in the prevention and early detection of colorectal cancer.  Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK. One way of reducing deaths associated with colorectal cancer is to detect it early. However, only 10% of colorectal cancers in the UK are diagnosed within screening programmes.  Therefore, there is an urgent need develop other tests that will help doctors detect cancers at an early stage to increase the chance of cure and decrease colorectal cancer deaths.

The KLOTHO gene (α-klotho) encodes a large protein that is found in many tissues including the colon. The Klotho protein is reduced with age and replacement of this protein reduces growth in colorectal cancer; Klotho protein levels have been found to be high in normal tissue but reduced in pre-cancerous polyps and invasive colorectal cancer. In mouse experiments, treatment with the Klotho protein halted the formation of colonic polyps and slowed the growth of colorectal cancers.

RTD is funding this this study, the aim of which is to develop tests to detect Klotho in blood and tissues taken from colorectal cancer patients so that this disease can be identified at an early stage, thereby increasing the chance of cure, and to identify patients who may be suitable for Klotho therapy – a potential therapeutic strategy for prevention and treatment of colorectal cancer, avoiding the side effects of chemotherapy.