Login to Pancreatic Cancer UK

Creating a rapid diagnostic pathway for patients with pancreatic cancer

Recipient: Professor Steve Pereira

Host Institution: University College London

Title: Creating a rapid diagnostic pathway for patients with pancreatic cancer

Type of award: Research grant

Funding: £379,722 (This project has been made possible due to a consortium of donors including Fiorina, Gemma’s Fund, Nicki’s Smile which is supporting the project via Pancreatic Cancer UK, and the Loch Lomond Golf Invitational via our Development Fund Board).

Pancreatic cancer has a five-year survival of less than four per cent, which has remained unchanged over the last 40 years. Despite advances in diagnostic technology, pancreatic cancer is usually diagnosed late and at an incurable stage, whilst early diagnosis is directly linked to improved survival.

Although numerous biomarkers for pancreatic cancer have been reported, none have been adopted into routine clinical practice and alternative diagnostic strategies are urgently required. The team’s on-going research efforts have identified promising early biomarkers of pancreatic cancer, and have also shown that early symptoms reported by patients are often not recognised by healthcare professionals.

This new study aims to provide primary care physicians with a rapid diagnostic pathway for patients with pancreatic cancer by implementing early detection tests in symptomatic, ‘at-risk’ patients. This will be achieved by validating promising early biomarkers in pre-diagnosis blood samples for a screening or diagnostic test, refining and ratifying an early symptoms tool to identify individuals ‘at-risk’ of pancreatic cancer, and trialling the rapid diagnostic pathway within the North London Cancer Network.

It will also test promising candidate biomarkers specifically for the detection of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (PNETs), using newly collected patient samples and those collected from women prior to their diagnosis.

Dr Pereira comments, "We know there is a significant delay between the appearance of systems and a confirmed diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and that this delay is a significant impediment in a clinicians ability to effectively treat the disease. This project brings together subject experts from London and Liverpool to join the dots between symptoms, early markers of disease and access to treatment. The project will enable us to quickly and efficiently identify and treat patients to give them the best possible chance against pancreatic cancer."