With our funding, Professor Zhengming Chen and Dr Michael Holmes were able to begin researching a new blood test to diagnose pancreatic cancer at an early stage.They hope that the test could be used to identify individuals with pancreatic cancer before they start to experience symptoms, which could allow more people to have surgery and save more lives.
Last year, we established the first Pancreatic Cancer UK Future Leaders Academy at the Beatson Institute in Glasgow, which is due to go live in October 2017.
With £500,000 in funding, Professor Owen Sansom will be leading the Academy and will be supported by a team of world-class investigators. Together, they will provide support, training and mentoring for a group of new students who we hope will become world-leading scientists, and who can bring the breakthroughs of the future to fruition.
We funded Professor Weiguang Wang, who began work investigating whether a drug that is currently used to stop alcoholics craving a drink could be used to treat pancreatic cancer. By testing a drug that is cheap, safe and already in use, it is hoped that people with pancreatic cancer could start bene ting from the treatment much quicker, even within just a few years.
Pancreatic Cancer UK-funded researcher and Clinical Lecturer in General Surgery, University of Glasgow
Currently the only way to carry out genetic profiling of a pancreatic cancer tumour is to remove it completely. Unfortunately, that isn’t possible for the vast majority of patients, as surgery is complex and most people are not eligible. Without that analysis, however, it is impossible to predict the most effective treatments for each individual patient.
My team and I had wanted to do this research for a long time but, because it was a very speci c project and something that hadn’t been successfully done before, very few funding bodies were prepared to take a chance on us.
Thankfully, Pancreatic Cancer UK were able to invest, and they awarded my team a grant from their Research Innovation Fund.
And that was the right decision. For the rst time ever, we were able to do detailed analysis on a patient’s genome using a sample taken through endoscopic ultrasound ne needle aspiration. It’s a huge breakthrough, and one that could potentially change the way pancreatic cancer is treated in the future.
Without Pancreatic Cancer UK’s funding, our research would not have been possible and we would not have been able to prove our concept worked. Their initial investment has also enabled us to secure major further funding from other organisations, allowing us to continue our work going forward through the Precision PANC study.