Our researchers are:
Pancreatic cancer is the abnormal, uncontrolled growth of epithelial cells in the pancreas.
The pancreas is an organ in the abdomen, located between the stomach and spine. It has two different types of glands:
Most pancreatic cancers start in the exocrine glands.
People with pancreatic cancer usually have no obvious symptoms in the early stages, and there is currently no screening program to identify people at risk of the disease. As a result, pancreatic cancer is often not diagnosed until it is quite advanced. Pancreatic cancer is difficult to treat and only seven per cent of people survive five years after diagnosis.
Pancreatic cancer arises through accumulation of genetic damage. Recent studies have revealed many different genetic changes in pancreatic cancer. These studies show there is a great deal of variation between individual cases of pancreatic cancer.
Understanding the genes that drive pancreatic cancer will allow more personalised treatments tailored to the particular genetic changes in each individual.
Some of the factors that increase a person’s risk of developing pancreatic cancer include:
If pancreatic cancer is detected at an early stage it can often be treated by surgery. Chemotherapy may also be used to reduce the chance of the cancer returning. In cases where the disease is more advanced or has spread beyond the pancreas, surgery may not be effective and treatment is focused on relieving symptoms of the disease.
There is an urgent need for new therapies for pancreatic cancer. Only a handful of new drugs have been approved for the treatment of pancreatic cancer in the last decade. Current drugs only improve survival for a small proportion of people with pancreatic cancer, and only for a short time before the cancer becomes resistant to treatment.
Our researchers are using genetic analyses and human organoid cultures to identify better drugs and drug combinations for treating pancreatic cancer. We aim to improve outcomes for people with this disease.