Major pancreatic cancer study launched


A new pancreatic cancer project has been launched to find ways to speed up scientific discovery to improve the survival rates of patients.

Cancer Research UK have invested £10m in the PRECISION-Panc project, which aims to find quick ways of finding the right treatment for individual tumours.

Researchers at Glasgow University will receive £8m from the fund.

Prof Andrew Biankin said due to the aggressive nature of the disease, patients did not always get treatment.

“It’s essential that the most suitable treatment is identified quickly,” he said.

“It’s important we offer all patients the opportunity to be part of research alongside their standard care.”

Menu of trials

In Scotland, pancreatic cancer incidence rates have increased by 12% over the past 10 years.

In Scotland, about 620 people were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer 10 years ago, and this has risen to about 790 people.

Over this same period in Scotland, pancreatic cancer mortality rates have increased by 6%

The researchers will use the molecular profile of each individual cancer to offer patients and their doctor a menu of trials that might benefit them.

The first wave of research will establish the best way to collect and profile patient tissue samples.

Each patient will have up to five samples taken from their tumour at diagnosis for analysis at the University of Glasgow.

The results will guide clinical trial options in the future.

‘Incredible advances’

The three trials planned as part of this initiative will recruit 658 patients in centres across the UK – with the scope to add more trials in the future.

The trials will be led by the CRUK Clinical Trials Unit at Glasgow’s Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre.

Prof Biankin, who relocated to Glasgow from Australia in 2013, said: “PRECISION-Panc has been developed over the course of three years.

“I believe we’re on the cusp of making some incredible advances which will provide therapeutic options to help people affected by this terrible disease.”

Victoria Steven, of Cancer Research UK, said: “This ambitious project marks a new era for pancreatic cancer and puts Glasgow at the forefront of pancreatic cancer research.”