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Pancreatic cancer

Our researchers are dedicated to tackling cancers that continue to have very poor survival rates – such as pancreatic cancer.

Our work includes researching which genes are involved in pancreatic cancer and finding new ways of matching treatments to specific types of the disease. 

Our policy work also aims to transform the landscape for patients with pancreatic cancer by making the most innovative new drugs available to patients as quickly as possible, and ensuring treatments are developed for those cancers that have yet to benefit significantly from modern advances in precision medicine.

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Our impact on pancreatic cancer

Precision medicine

Scientists at the ICR are working with partners to try to better understand some of the specific genetic and biological features of pancreatic cancer, which could hold clues to why it is currently so difficult to treat.

Professor Chris Lord, for example, is taking part in a programme called PRECISION-Panc, which represents one of the biggest ever UK investments in pancreatic cancer research and brings together expertise from several research institutions.

Other ICR researchers in pancreatic cancer include Dr Anguraj Sadanandam, Team Leader in Systems and Precision Cancer Medicine at the ICR, who has led significant studies – including to divide pancreatic cancer into several sub-types based on their genetic characteristics, and to use computational analysis to look at scar tissue in pancreatic cancers which makes them difficult to treat.

New treatments

In collaboration with our partner hospital, The Royal Marsden, our researchers have been involved in several recent studies which are looking at potential new drugs for pancreatic cancer or tests to guide treatment.

Alongside partners at Imperial College London, we are also pioneering a new type of treatment called histotripsy, a specialised form of ultrasound that could be used to destroy cancers deep in the body including pancreatic cancers.

Getting treatments to patients

We also recognise that there are not enough treatment options coming through the pipeline for pancreatic cancer. A recent ICR report, From Patent to Patient: analysing access to innovative cancer drugs, showed that although overall the number of drugs coming through approval is increasing, very few are reaching patients with cancers of acute unmet need, such as pancreatic cancer.

As well as focusing on defeating pancreatic cancer through our research, we are calling on the Government and wider research community to make wide-ranging changes to the system of drug discovery and development, to bring new drugs to people affected by hard-to-treat cancers more quickly.

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