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Dr. Tatjana Crnogorac-Jurcevic 2009 Award

Research Institution: Centre for Molecular Oncology and Imaging - Barts Cancer Institute

Award: £150,000   Duration: 2009-2011

Project Title: Discovery and validation of urinary peptides for non-invasive diagnosis of pancreatic cancer

Research Aims: The aim of this project is to develop the panel of urinary biomarkers that will be used for the non-invasive diagnosis of pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PDAC), which is one of the deadliest types of cancer. It is usually asymptomatic, and when it is diagnosed it has often already spread locally and into other organs. Surgical resection, which is currently the only mode of curative treatment, is therefore possible in only 10-20% of patients. While the overall 5-year survival rate is less than 5%, the 5-year survival in patients after timely surgical resection can reach 40%. Therefore, if PDAC can be detected at early stage, this would make a huge impact on patients’ survival chances.

We have recently shown that it is possible to find diagnostic signatures of PDAC by analysing proteins that are present in urine. We now want to take this further and select a minimal number of such proteins/peptides (five to ten) that can still distinguish the patients with cancer from patients with benign pancreatic diseases and healthy people. These would form the basis of a diagnostic test that could enable screening and early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.

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