Research Today Programme Session – Breaking Trials in Colorectal Research

Every year the UK’s specialists in the field of bowel disease come together for their annual meeting – where discussion, debate and the odd bit of merrymaking are the order of the day.

This year they descended on Bournemouth, with BDRF in tow of course, and what a week we had. Research took centre stage, with BDRF flying the flag for our life-saving, life-changing work throughout. We were recruiting hospitals from around the country to new studies on (among many other things) – surgery alone as a safe treatment for rectal cancer (sparing chemo-radiotherapy), prevention of painful and distressing parastomal hernia, getting people back on their feet quicker after surgery, bringing hope to people with late stage bowel cancers, reducing infection rates and how we can better protect frail patients from complications. If you want to get involved as a centre with any of these, do drop us a line.

It was an honour to see our research on display so prominently, and the support for our cause among professionals living every day on the front line, tackling bowel disease was both palpable and humbling.

Below you can read a recap of the week – from fun runs to guest lectures, consensus meetings and (actual) research fireworks.

Fun Run

ACPGBI Conference isn’t complete these days without the annual BDRF fun run.

This year over 30 intrepid runners braved the challenge of a 5k run along a sunlit Bournemouth promenade, spurred on by the need to be back in time for a welcome drinks reception. A bottle of champagne and BDRF T-shirts were on offer for those who raised the most money to support our vital colorectal research, with hundreds of pounds duly mustered. We’re extremely grateful to all who took part and those who donated.

Championing patient voices in research

Increasingly, colorectal research is being shaped not only by clinicians but by people with lived experience of the diseases being treated. BDRF have assumed a trailblazing role in this process, providing a golden thread between academics and patients at the genesis of research projects.

Our Delphi programme merged the priorities of doctors, scientists and patients to ensure we’re all singing from the same hymn sheet when it comes to fighting bowel disease. The results have been truly uplifting and educational for all concerned. Taking interaction out of a formal medical setting, it was beyond rewarding to see people usually seperated by the consulting room table bond and begin to understand each other that little bit better. Ultimately, it brings us another step closer to better treatments and outcomes.

In recognition of this, we were proud to sponsor the first ever Patient Liaison Group session at ACPGBI Conference, chaired by our Trustee Professor Bob Arnott. Building on the work of the last year, the session highlighted to delegates how patient involvement would enable them to do better research. Voices from across the charity sector were in attendance, with a palpable collaborative spirit on display. Thank you to all who took part.


The Delphi programme of research is far from over – and BDRF was back in action again at the postoperative Ileus session. Bringing together specialists to ask a simple question – how can we improve recovery and get people back on their feet quicker after surgery – the session saw live interactive voting on research priorities.

First up the group brainstormed potential factors that could indicate delayed recovery – nausea, loss of appetite, anxiety among others. These were then subjected to a vote to decide which were the most important red flags a clinician should look out for.

Various other factors were taken into account in this way, including the impact on a surgeon of the stress and anxiety caused by a delay in patient recovery.

The session marked a first step in developing a major trial aimed at how we can prevent postoperative ileus and improve recovery. If you are interested in this area of research, please get in touch with us at

BDRF Guest Lecture

Each year, we award the BDRF medal to a guest lecturer delivering their research. This year we invited Ismail Gögenur, Professor of Surgery at Copenhagen University, to present on enhancing recovery after surgery. As we are developing UK research along the same lines this was most welcome and extremely pertinent. A huge thank you to Prof. Gögenur!

Research forecast

The undisputed highlight of the week however comes last – the research forecast session in the main conference hall.

Unveiling scientific research, statistics and findings from trials can sometimes be a rather dry business – but this was anything but.

The culmination of gruelling 6am rehearsals, the research session was something to behold, bringing together a wealth of incredible research trials in an innovative, and engaging presentation that had no shortage of humour.

Delegates (not to mention BDRF staff) were absolutely blown away by the sheer number of cutting edge trials taking place, and the passionate, progressive approach to patient care these researchers embody.

Video of this event was thankfully captured on Twitter – and will be available on our site in full soon, so watch this space.

Once again, thanks to everyone who was a part of it – truly awesome!