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PanORAMA project: Pancreatic Cancer Predisposition, Obesity-Related Deposition Assessment using Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Recipient: Dr Andrew Renehan

Host Institution: University of Manchester

Title: PanORAMA project: Pancreatic Cancer Predisposition, Obesity-Related Deposition Assessment using Magnetic Resonance ImAging: a development and discovery study to evaluate the assessment of pancreatic fat deposition using MR imaging as a predisposition biomarker for pancreatic cancer

Type of award: 2013 Research Innovation Fund

Funding: £74,852

In this proposal, we are focusing on the role of fat in the pancreatic gland prior to tumour development as a biomarker. We know that measurement of total body fat is linked with increased risk of pancreatic cancer, but its measurement is too crude to be a useful biomarker. In this project, we will use sophisticated magnetic resonance (MR) imaging to directly measure amount and type of fat in the pancreas with greater sensitivity and specificity. We will use two MR methods known as chemical-shift MR and proton MR spectroscopy. These two techniques have not been used before to measure pancreatic fat in relation to the development of cancer. We will undertake a series of studies in patients and healthy individuals to determine that the biomarkers accurately and reproducibly measure pancreatic fat. We will also perform a study to test whether pancreatic fat changes when overweight individuals lose weight as part of a trial. This will be an important finding, as it will be proof the principle that it is possible to intervene and modify an individual's risk of pancreatic cancer.