The Pancreatic Cancer UK Early Diagnosis Research Alliance
The Alliance supports dozens of the brightest research minds from institutions across the UK, to once and for all, meaningfully drive down the time to diagnosis for people with pancreatic cancer. They will do this through the close collaboration between four key specialists areas in the delivery of early diagnosis. By sharing information and knowledge and coordinating efforts, the different work areas will be enhanced by one another and at the same time minimise duplication and waste.
Now is the time to do things differently because without collaboration, there will be many more decades of poor diagnosis ahead.
Driving the Alliance forward
Leading the large team of researchers that form the Alliance is Professor Steve Pereira, University College London, who has over 20 years of experience in working in pancreatic cancer. He was nominated by his professional peers as the ideal person to lead a large team. His previous research into early diagnosis and biomarker testing has served as vital groundwork for this project, increasing biomarker test sensitivity, and highlighting the challenges in delivering diagnosis in the UK healthcare system.
What exactly will the Alliance do?
The Alliance, based in institutions throughout the UK, will look to accelerate early diagnosis for the most common forms of pancreatic cancer, pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (PNET) and will focus on four key specialist areas in the delivery of early diagnosis:
- Equipping GPs to make accurate decisions
Data and informatics experts will analyse vast datasets on symptoms in order to overhaul the current established range of symptoms, using them to refine the decision-making tools currently available to GPs. These tools will help GPs decide whether someone needs further tests or referral to a specialist
- Enhancing biomarker tests
The team will improve current tests for biomarkers (markers of cancer found in blood or urine, for example) for PDAC and PNETs to make them more sensitive, and therefore more accurate at picking up pancreatic cancers earlier. This will lead to a simple test that doctors can use to diagnose the disease earlier
- Providing evidence for implementation
A specialist team will analyse and establish what the economic and social impact of the study’s diagnostic methods for PDAC and PNET will be, identifying the barriers to uptake, and recommending how the tools can be successfully implemented into the NHS
- Mapping out a diagnostic pathway
The team will collect a new biobank of samples from patients with vague symptoms. They will then test the new improved diagnostic tools from the other specialist work areas in a real-time clinical trial as a new diagnostic pathway.