Pancreatic Cancer

Why we focus on Pancreatic Cancer

Each year over 8,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer – and almost the same number die of the disease, making it the fifth most common cause of cancer death. The problems are that by the time patients are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the disease is simply too advanced for curative surgery and traditional chemotherapy and radiotherapy make almost no impact on progression. The last decade has seen many more scientists and doctors becoming interested in making a difference to the outlook for patients with this disease.

Using the latest technologies to unlock the cancer genome and to dissect the biology of the cancer cell has been hugely rewarding in terms what we have learned about the genes and molecules that drive the initiation and progression of pancreatic cancer. We believe that now is the time to translate these discoveries into advances in the clinic that will directly benefit patients with – or at risk of developing - pancreatic cancer.

What we do

  • We are developing techniques to detect pancreatic cancer at its very earliest stages, using highly sensitive technology to detect markers in the blood and urine.
  • We are mapping the changed molecular signatures in pancreatic cancer that could represent new targets for therapy.
  • We are exploring new biological therapies that can kill pancreatic cancer specifically (targeted viruses for gene therapy) and activate cells of the immune system to seek out and destroy the disease (cell immunotherapy).
  • We are developing new approaches that attack the tissues supporting the tumour to stop it growing.

Key Publications

  • Coleman et al. Nuclear translocation of FGFR1 and FGF2 in pancreatic stellate cells facilitates pancreatic cancer cell invasion. EMBO Mol Med. 2014; 6(4):467-81
  •  Kadaba et al. Imbalance of desmoplastic stromal cell numbers drives aggressive cancer processes. J Pathol. 2013; 230(1):107-17
  •  Dayem Ullah et al. The pancreatic expression database: recent extensions and updates. Nucleic Acids Res. 2014; 42(1):D944-9.
  •  Crnogorac-Jurcevic et al. Molecular analysis of precursor lesions in familial pancreatic cancer. PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e54830
  •  Ene-Obong et al. Activated Pancreatic Stellate Cells Sequester CD8(+) T Cells to Reduce Their Infiltration of the Juxtatumoral Compartment of Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma. Gastroenterology 2013. 145(5):1121-32. 

Who does the research

→ Click here for BCI researchers working on pancreatic cancer

Major Funders

  • Cancer Research UK       
  • EU
  • MRC                       
  • Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund
  • Pancreatic Cancer UK
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