New funding award to investigate pancreatic cancer

Oct 1, 2016 12:00 AM

Funding has been secured from the Pancreatic Cancer UK - Research Innovation Fund to assist in the development of a blood test for the early detection of pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer is a complex and hard to treat cancer. Currently there are no suitable markers or simple tests to support screening and early diagnosis of the disease, and very few effective drug treatments. Most patients, about 80 or 90%, are diagnosed when the disease is too advanced for surgery – the only potentially curative treatment for pancreatic cancer. New ways of picking up pancreatic cancer earlier, such as blood tests, are therefore fundamental in order to improve pancreatic cancer survival rates.

In collaboration with Prof Carl Borrebaeck and his team at Lund University, this project will investigate whether a blood test can identify individuals with pancreatic cancer before they start to experience symptoms, which could allow them to undergo potentially curative surgical treatment. In previous research from Prof Borrebaeck’s group has found that a test has been able to identify pancreatic cancer in patients already diagnosed with the disease. Using samples from CKB, researchers now will investigate whether this can successfully be used as a tool to identify individuals who were free from symptoms that later went on to develop pancreatic cancer.

In addition, the researchers will also investigate the genetic factors and biological processes that lead to pancreatic cancer. This could shed light on the reasons that people develop the disease and open new avenues of research into preventative cancer drugs.