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Pancreatic cancer – a forgotten cancer?

Dr Núria Malats at CNIO in Madrid, Spain has been awarded £196,071 by Worldwide Cancer Research for her work looking at bacteria and pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer is often diagnosed late, is hard to treat, and unlike other cancers, survival has improved very little since the 1970s. In the UK alone, 24 people are diagnosed with this cancer every day.*

Dr Malats and her team are studying the role of bacteria, which live inside us all, and whether they could be a factor in development of pancreatic cancer. She explains why: “Earlier studies have linked the development of pancreatic cancer with chronic, long-term, inflammation, and bacterial organisms living in the human body can sometimes cause chronic inflammation. It is imperative we assess inflammatory-related factors like bacteria and their association with pancreatic cancer”.

The team will compare bacteria in saliva and stool samples from patients with pancreatic cancer to those from patients who do not have cancer. They hope this will reveal if there is any association between these bacteria and the risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

“I hope this work will help increase our knowledge about what can alter a person’s risk of developing pancreatic cancer,” says Dr Malats. “This in turn could help us to find new and effective ways to prevent this disease.”