The investment announced today will support the PRECISION Panc project which aims to develop personalised treatments for pancreatic cancer patients, improving the options and outcomes for a disease where survival rates have remained stubbornly low.
Treatments are set to be transformed through network of new clinical trials across the country, including in Cambridge, which will aim to find the right trial for the right patient. Patients will also be helped onto suitable clinical trials that are already up and running.
Professor Duncan Jodrell (pictured), who is leading the research in Cambridge, said: “PRECISION Panc aims to match the right treatment or clinical trial to the right patient. The strength of PRECISION Panc is the coordinated commitment from a broad spectrum of organisations, to work together to improve outcomes for people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, for whom the future is often very bleak.
“As a leader of the Pancreatic Cancer Programme at the CRUK Cambridge Centre, I’m excited about the potential of this initiative to change the way we care for people with this disease.”
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 which is then analysed at the University of Glasgow. The results will guide clinical trial options in the future.
The programme will ensure discoveries from the lab rapidly reach patients, and that data from clinical trials feed back into research of the disease.
Cancer Research UK’s investment will support two of the three clinical trials, preclinical work, assay development, biomarker work and the huge amount of molecular sequencing.
The charity’s funding will also provide overarching support though project management, funding staff, and a steering committee.
Dr Ian Walker, Cancer Research UK’s director of clinical research, said: “This ambitious project marks a new era for pancreatic cancer. Little progress has been made in outcomes for pancreatic cancer patients over the last 40 years, and we believe that PRECISION Panc will reshape how we approach treatment development.
“Cancer Research UK is determined to streamline research, to find the right clinical trial for all pancreatic cancer patients and to ensure laboratory discoveries have patient benefit.”