Research we fund
Pancreatic Cancer Action has funded several projects investigating the early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. This has allowed researchers to examine a number of new ways of looking at the disease.
Research part or fully funded by Pancreatic Cancer Action has been important in the development of potential biomarkers to diagnose pancreatic cancer earlier, in some cases, before symptoms appear. Many of these studies have gone on to receive grants from other organisations to help the work move further.
The link between diabetes and pancreatic cancer
Studies originally funded by Pancreatic Cancer Action have resulted in a grant from Cancer Research UK to study the link between type 2 diabetes and pancreatic cancer. Dr Etihne Costello and her team are conducting a study where patients will have blood tests to identify if their diabetes is type 2 or the rarer type 3c diabetes and if this is a result of pancreatic cancer.
If researchers can discover a marker in the blood (also known as a biomarker) that can distinguish between the two types of diabetes, or diabetes caused by pancreatic cancer, it could give doctors a simple tool for diagnosis in these people.
Developing a urine test as a diagnostic test
A recent grant from the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund (PCRF) has been granted to Dr Tatiana Crnogorac- Jurcevic and her team studying potential biomarkers for pancreatic cancer in patient’s urine. Original studies examined the urine of patients and healthy volunteers to compare the proteins and levels of different elements. This aimed to see if there was anything specific to pancreatic cancer patient’s urine that could be used to diagnose the disease. After some promising results the team have just began a four-year study to test the accuracy and reliability of their findings.
Further studies are using blood samples to recognise DNA of pancreatic cancer tumours with the hope that these can be recorded and used in future testing. Grants from Pancreatic Cancer Action have so far resulted in the publication of more then fifteen scientific papers. Insights gained have been used in investigating pancreatic cancer as well as other tumour types including bile duct and ovarian cancers.