Login to Pancreatic Cancer UK

Investigating novel compounds to prevent tumour growth and the spread of pancreatic cancer cells

Recipient: Dr Lodewijk Dekker

Host Institution: University of Nottingham

Title: Investigating novel compounds to prevent tumour growth and the spread of pancreatic cancer cells

Type of award: 2015 Research Innovation Fund

Funding: £71,764

Pancreatic cancer is caused when cells in the ducts of the pancreas start growing in an uncontrollable way. At first the cells will remain in the duct, but they can later spread into surrounding tissue. This is called invasion. Once this has occurred, the cancer can spread further, for example into fat, blood vessels, nerves and nearby organs. This makes it even more difficult to treat. A better understanding of how invasion works is vital in order to develop and optimise new treatments that prevent cancer cells from spreading.

Dr Dekker’s team have identified small compounds that may be able to stop cancer cell invasion. The compounds work by interrupting interactions between two proteins that are found on the surface of pancreatic cancer cells. The researchers believe that by using these compounds they can prevent the proteins from binding to form a "complex" (a bound structure), leading to changes in tumour size and spreading of the cancer cells.

This is an extremely promising area of investigation and if the researchers are successful could lead to new treatment options to improve outcomes for people with pancreatic cancer.