Cancer Research UK is investing £10m in a pancreatic clinical research project to identify ways to accelerate scientific discovery and improve survival rates of these cancer patients. The bulk of the funds, £8m, will go to investigators at Glasgow University.
Because pancreatic cancer is such an aggressive and deadly disease, patients often don’t get treatment. Professor Andrew Biankin noted that it is vital that patients receive the most appropriate treatment as quickly as possible. In a recognition of the importance of clinical trials as a care option for cancer patients, Biankin mentioned the importance of offering patients both standard of care and research options.
Pancreatic Cancer Challenges in Scotland
Pancreatic cancer incidence rates have increased by 12% over the past 10 years in Scotland. About 620 people in Scotland were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a decade ago, and that number now arrives at 790. Mortality rates over this same period, based on pancreatic cancer, have increased by 6%.
Advanced Precision-based Treatments: Molecular Profile Match to Trial
The investigators plan on utilizing the molecular profile of each participant to offer the patients and their doctor a menu of clinical trials that benefit them most. First, investigators seek to establish the optimal method to collect and profile patient tissue samples. So each patient will contribute up to five tumor tissue samples during their analysis at the University of Glasgow. The results will guide future research as care options.
The Clinical Trials
The initiative will include three clinical trials involving 658 patients at clinical investigator sites across the United Kingdom—the sponsors can add more studies as well. Led by CRUK Clinical Trials Unit at Glasgow’s Beatson West of Scotland Centre, professor Biankin, who relocated to Glasgow from Australia in 2013, reports, “PRECISION-Panc has been developed over the course of three years.” Biankin believes that the UK cancer research team is “on the cusp of making some incredible advances which will provide therapeutic options to help people affected by this terrible disease.”
Cancer Research UK’s Victoria Steven reported “this ambitious project marks a new era for pancreatic cancer and puts Glasgow at the forefront of pancreatic cancer research.”
Who is Cancer UK?
Cancer Research UK is a cancer research and awareness charity in the United Kingdom and Isle of Man, formed on February 4, 2002 by the merger of The Cancer Research Campaign and the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. Its aim is to reduce the number of deaths from cancer. As the world’s largest independent cancer research charity, it conducts research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease. Research activities are carried out in institutes, universities and hospitals across the UK, both by the charity’s own employees and by its grant-funded researchers. It also provides information about cancer and runs campaigns aimed at raising awareness of the disease and influencing public policy.
Cancer Research UK’s work is almost entirely funded by the public. It raises money through donations, legacies, community fundraising, events, retail and corporate partnerships. Over 40,000 people are regular volunteers.
University of Glasgow
University of Glasgow is a public research university in Glasgow, Scotland. Founded by papal bull in 1451, it is the fourth-oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland’s four ancient universities. Along with the universities of Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and St Andrews, the university was part of the Scottish Enlightenment during the 18th century.
The university’s Institute of Cancer Sciences is part of a national center of excellence in the fight against cancer. They carry out a program of world-class science directed at understanding the molecular changes that cause cancer. They are working to translate scientific discoveries into new drugs or diagnostic and prognostic tools that benefit cancer patients, taking new therapies through preclinical and clinical trials. The Institute of Cancer Sciences is a major component of the Cancer Research UK West of Scotland Cancer Centre.
Professor Andrew Biankin, Institute of Cancer Studies
Call to Action: Are you based in the UK and have a loved one diagnosed with pancreatic cancer? This research team should be on your radar.