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Characterisation of Subtype-Specific Metabolism and Associated Therapeutic Targets in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma

Recipient: Dr Anguraj Sadanandam

Host Institution: Institute of Cancer Research

Title: Characterisation of Subtype-Specific Metabolism and Associated Therapeutic Targets in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma

Type of award: 2014 Research Innovation Fund

Funding: £75,000

Attempts to personalise therapy for patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) have yet to be successful, in part due to the fact that the biological differences between each patient’s tumours have been difficult to define.

This project aims to define groups of patients who have similar tumours – not only at the genetic (DNA) level, but also in the metabolites that are fundamental to how cells grow, change over time, respond to their environment, and die. This will help us to tailor specific therapies to individuals in each group and improve their treatment outcomes. The researchers will confirm the existence of three, previously defined subgroups and identify extra subgroups using tumour samples from patients and cell lines. Using sophisticated biological and computational analyses, they will identify subgroup-specific genetic changes, metabolites, and their response to various therapies. The accurate and full characterisation of the tumours will lead to the treatment of patients with specific types of tumours with ‘best-fit’ drugs, and the tests that are needed for this to occur in the clinic.

Overall, this project will help to identify novel personalised diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for patients with this devastating disease.