Breakthrough in pancreatic cancer research
One of our researchers has identified a potential new treatment target for pancreatic cancer. Dr Miriam Martini, based in Torino, Italy, recently made this exciting breakthrough. Fewer than 1 in 10 people in the UK can be expected to survive 5 years or more after their diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, so this is fantastic news for patients.
The pancreas is an organ in the body which sits just behind your stomach and is important for both the digestive and endocrine systems. It produces many important hormones and enzymes. When a tumour develops in the pancreas it is often surrounded by scar tissue which blocks a lot of treatment from having an effect. Also, in many cases, pancreatic cancer is hard to detect early because the pancreas is situated deep inside the body making tumours hard to be seen or felt.
In 2020 nearly half a million people worldwide were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Dr Martini has been researching a particular type called Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) which accounts for 90% of cases.
Dr Martini and her team have been exploring how a protein called PI3K-C2Y is involved in the development of pancreatic cancer. The team have used both mice and cell models of cancer to compare how fast tumours grow with or without PI3K-C2Y and found that without the protein tumours grow faster. Their work indicates that PI3K-C2Y may function as a tumour suppressor in PDAC, acting as a stop signal to cancer cells which grow out of control.
This research could pave the way for new pancreatic cancer therapies in the future.
Although survival rates for some cancers have improved dramatically, others including pancreatic cancer are lagging behind. We are delighted to see such promising results from Dr Martini and her team and hope that it leads to new treatments for pancreatic cancer. Our Curestarter supporters enable us to fund this important discovery research which is vital to help improve outcomes for future cancer patients.