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Gastrointestinal Screening for Better Gut Health

Test Bed Vision:

“To develop a screening tool to optimise diagnostic, prevention and therapeutic strategies of gut health”

With incidents of bowel cancer rising and more people suffering from coeliac disease and inflammatory bowel disease and syndrome, there is plenty of attention on gut health.

Colorectal cancers are the second most common cancer in Australia and the second leading cause of cancer death. It accounts for 9 percent of total cancer care costs in Australia. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is also on the rise in Australia with 100,000 people projected to be suffering from an IBD in 2022 and approximately $100 million spent in hospital costs.

Despite extensive research in this area, there are many unanswered questions about a range of gut biology issues including nutrient assimilation along the whole GI tract, fermentation and the impact of digestion on glycaemic index, microbiota and metabolic health.

This test bed leverages off significant improvements in human 3D colonic crypt culture and their analysis to identify and test interventions to maintain a healthy gut and prevent against gastrointestinal disease. It will use organoids, three dimensional organ ‘buds’ that can be propagated from stem cells and which mimic the intestinal tissue they were derived from. A study of the organoids will assist with understanding of colorectal cancer development and it will open the possibility of personalised drug screening.

This test bed is led by Leah Cosgrove from CSIRO’s Health and Biosecurity. Other participants include Andrew Laslett and Justin Cooper-White. This research test bed is a collaboration by staff from CSIRO’s Health and Biosecurity and Manufacturing Business Units.