Early Diagnosis Research Alliance

Professor Stephen Pereira
Location: Imperial College London
Date: 2018 
Project status: Complete

The challenge

Early detection saves lives. However, previous investments in early detection research were too small, infrequent and isolated, meaning that progress was limited. To drive forward much-needed breakthroughs in the early detection of pancreatic cancer, we set up the Early Diagnosis Research Alliance which brings together the brightest research minds with the aim of making the early detection of pancreatic cancer a reality.

The project

The Early Diagnosis Research Alliance is one of the biggest investments into improving detection of pancreatic cancer in the UK. By sharing information and knowledge and coordinating efforts, some of the UK’s leading researchers are working together to develop and implement a simple test that GPs can use to detect pancreatic cancer earlier and save lives.

The outcomes

Over the first five years, work from the Early Diagnosis Research Alliance has laid the vital groundwork for the development of new tools and tests that will help GPs identify patients with vague symptoms who are most likely to have pancreatic cancer, so that they can be urgently referred for further tests.

Researchers have used clues found in the blood to develop the very first blood test to detect pancreatic cancer which was shown to have more than 95% accuracy in early trials. Our researchers are also building on these findings to develop a breath test for pancreatic cancer.

This programme of work also identified new red flag symptoms of pancreatic cancer, provided evidence that the best place for an early detection test is in the GP surgery, and established new sample collections that are helping researchers across the UK and beyond to carry out vital work to improve the detection of pancreatic cancer.

The Early Diagnosis Research Alliance was made possible through the generous support of Nicki’s Smile and Dan Blake, together with funds generated by other supporters.