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Interrogation of UKCTOCS serum bank for existing and novel markers of Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC)

Recipient: Professor Steve Pereira

Host Institution: University College London

Title: Interrogation of UKCTOCS serum bank for existing and novel markers of Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma

Type of award: Pump Priming Research Award 2008

Funding: £140,210

Status: Completed

The overall aim of this research is to produce valuable data that can be ultimately translated into the clinic in the form of blood tests for the diagnosis of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). A pump priming research grant has been awarded to meet the costs of a systematic testing of existing biomarkers against an existing serum collection. They aim to establish the performance of identified proteins/peptides as early markers of PDAC using an independent cohort of case control samples from the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS) study. Currently, this collection contains serum from over 200,000 women collected over a 6 year period. Within this resource are serial serum samples from 104 women which pre- and post-date a diagnosis of PDAC. This represents an extremely important and rare resource with limited sample volumes. They will test existing biomarkers against this pre clinical resource to characterise the temporal value of markers discovered from late stage cancers. 

In future, this work could lead to the validation and characterisation of existing and new biomarkers of PDAC highlighted in the proposed pilot study. This would entail the validation and characterisation of cellular markers where appropriate by immuno-histochemical staining of PDAC specimens on tissue microarrays (TMAs), and functional characterisation of validated disease biomarkers using RNAi knockdown studies in PDAC cell line models. An in-depth understanding of the function of such markers may aid in their development as diagnostic and prognostic markers or suggest them as potential therapeutic targets. Also the methods developed here could be applied for the discovery of biomarkers of other diseases such as biliary tract cancer, for which a large prospective clinical database exists at UCLH and for which clinical and pre-clinical serum samples are available.