World-leading research into pancreatic cancer has been boosted with the Centenary Institute’s Professor John Rasko AO awarded a $100,000 ‘Innovation in Early Detection’ grant from The Australian Pancreatic Cancer Foundation.
One of the deadliest forms of cancer, the five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer is less than 12% in Australia. A reason for the low survival rate is that the cancer is hard to find early which would allow for more treatment options for patients.
The grant to Professor Rasko will seek to address this issue supporting research into the early detection and diagnosis of pancreatic cancer using circulating tumour cells (CTCs).
“A simple blood test that can detect and diagnose early pancreatic cancer doesn’t yet exist,” said Professor Rasko.
“However, CTCs are cancer cells that can be detected in a patient’s blood. They’ve been shown to exist in the circulation even at very early stages of disease, however, their use in diagnosis and detection has yet to be fully explored.”
“Our project will examine CTCs in the blood of patients who have abnormalities within their pancreas requiring further investigation,” said Professor Rasko.
“We hope to be able to establish CTC testing as a complementary diagnostic and screening tool that can assist in guiding early intervention, thereby resulting in increased survival rates in pancreatic cancer patients.”
Head of the Centenary Institute’s Gene and Stem Cell Therapy Program, Professor Rasko is also Head of Department, Cell and Molecular Therapies, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and Professor, the Li Ka Shing Cell and Gene Therapy Programme, The University of Sydney.