Understanding the causes of tumour growth in early pancreatic cancer

Dr Shalini Rao
Location: University of Cambridge
Date: July 2024
Project status: Starting soon

The challenge

Pancreatic cancer is frequently diagnosed too late, when it has already spread to other areas of the body. At this point surgery, the only potentially curative treatment for pancreatic cancer, is no longer an option. One of the challenges of pancreatic cancer detection and diagnosis is that symptoms are non-specific, and are common to many other conditions. Current blood tests for pancreatic cancer are not very accurate, and therefore we desperately need new ways to identify pancreatic cancer at an early stage.

The project

The aim of this project is to find out more about the biological changes that take place in the very early stages of pancreatic cancer and identify new proteins in the blood that are produced in the early stages of pancreatic cancer, but not by normal cells.

The hope

These findings could then be used to develop new blood tests which detect the presence of these proteins in the blood, giving doctors new tools to identify the disease at a very early stage, while curative treatments such as surgery are still an option. Additionally, learning more about the processes that take place early on in the development of pancreatic cancer could also help design new and more effective treatments.

Meet the researcher

Dr Shalini Rao