Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths. Less than 20% of patients are candidates for surgery at diagnosis. There are few available treatment options for the remaining patients, and so most survive for only a few months. These needs are driving our research and clinical focus at Cambridge. Scientists are involved in research into the biology of pancreatic cancer, identification of biomarkers, epidemiological studies and clinical trials with the mission of improving the outcome for patients with this disease.

Cambridge research on pancreatic cancer

Programme Contacts

University of Cambridge
Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
University of Cambridge
MRC Cancer Unit
University of Cambridge
Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, MRC Cancer Unit
Cambridge Pancreatic Cancer Centre

The University of Cambridge Pancreatic Cancer Centre brings researchers in basic and clinical science together with surgeons, physicians and nurses who treat pancreatic cancer at Addenbrooke's Hospital, in a multi-disciplinary approach to translational research to improve patient outcomes.

An overview of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and current drug treatment

Download a presentation by Professor Duncan Jodrell from his Lectures in Cancer Biology talk given at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Insitute in April 2016.

Research into the genetic etiology of pancreatic cancer

In a disease where only 10–15% of patients are suitable for resection at the time of presentation, there is a need for better and earlier diagnostic techniques. In addition, high risk populations need to be identified and screening approaches considered. This is being studied using pre-clinical models to identify genes that drive pancreatic cancer, familial genetics, biomarkers for risk stratification and therapeutic responsiveness, and defining pathways for managing pancreatic cystic lesions by identifying low and high risk lesions.
Activating mutations in the Kras oncogene occur in over 90% of pancreatic cancer cases, but how associated genetic alterations work to promote the disease is not understood. Researchers across the Centre are combining studies on pre-clinical models for pancreatic cancer with genetic analysis of samples from human tumours to identify new oncogenes that may drive pancreatic carcinogenesis, and influence the clinical behaviour of the malignancies. They have identified genes that work as guidance molecules in the nervous system – but not previously implicated in pancreatic cancer – providing new insights into the biology of the disease.

Understanding drug resistance

In another study, Centre researchers have found that inheritance of even one defective copy of a gene, previously implicated in breast cancer predisposition, can work with activated Kras to cause pancreatic cancers, which are resistant to certain forms of targeted therapies. They have also found that anti-cancer drugs may penetrate poorly into some tumours because the tumour is surrounded by a dense fibrous capsule induced by the cancer cells, which reduces the blood supply. This has suggested a novel combination therapy targeting both the cancer cells and the fibrous capsule.

Pre-clinical models and trials

Linking the laboratory and the clinic to improve pancreatic cancer treatment Centre researchers have established unique pre-clinical models which closely resemble the human disease. They use these to test the effects of potential new therapies and to help select those most likely to be successful in patients. A number of different new drugs have already been tested, and encouraging results prompt clinical studies by the Early Phase Clinical Trials Team.

Researching how pancreatic cancer affects the immune system

Pancreatic cancers make themselves 'invisible' to our immune systems in ways that are poorly understood. Pre-clinical research in the Centre has identified a particular type of cell within the tumours, which seems to block the entry of immune cells and thus immune attack. In experimental systems, ablation of this cell allows the immune system to fight the cancers, with exciting implications for the development of a new approach to treatment.

Researching conditions linked to pancreatic cancer

Collaborations are investigating the mechanism of cachexia (wasting syndrome), which has a negative impact on the quality of life and survival in this disease. Other groups in Physiology are investigating hypoxia-induced factor (HIF) and thrombosis, which is a major feature and cause of mortality in patients with pancreatic cancer. Further groups are working on the utility of endoscopic ultrasound guided core sampling to improve diagnostic accuracy and generate tissue for further research.

International symposia

The Centre has hosted two international symposia, discussing the scientific and clinical aspects of several pancreatic cancer-related topics. They have attracted a mixed audience, from patients to clinicians, and have generated research collaborations and discussions with charities about patients participating in clinical research.

Principal investigators and consultants

  • All members
  • Group leaders
  • Clinical consultants
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
School of Clinical Medicine, MRC Cancer Unit
Hutchison MRC Research Centre
I am a senior clinical oncology trainee currently undertaking a Clinical PhD Fellowship at the MRC Cancer Unit in Prof Ashok Venkitaraman's...
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(tbc)
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University of Cambridge, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Oncology
Honorary Consultant Medical Oncologist
My research focus is in drug development and I translate preclinical findings on lead candidate agents into early phase clinical trials of...
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University of Cambridge
Department of Oncology
CRUK Cambridge Institute
Trial Coordination of clinical and translational research studies - inc. CAM-PLEX, PRICKLE, EVIS & CAMPAN-1.
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Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
(tbc)
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Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Pathology
Pancreatic Cancer Centre
Undertaking collaborative research and trial support for pancreaticobiliary carcinoma.
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Department of Biochemistry
CRUK Cambridge Institute
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Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Radiology
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Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Oncology
Pancreatic cancer and immunotherapy
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Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Oncology
My research is based on improving outcomes for patients with chemoresistant cancers. I am chief investigator of the national adjuvant...
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University of Cambridge
Department of Oncology
Hutchison MRC Research Centre
Discovery and development of small molecule inhibitors of protein-protein interactions as cancer therapeutics.
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University of Cambridge
Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
CRUK Cambridge Research Institute
We study the role of the FAP+ cell, which is a specific type of stromal cell that is found in all human adenocarcinomas. We have shown in a...
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University of Cambridge
MRC Cancer Unit
Hutchison MRC Research Centre
- Biochemical Imaging - Mitosis, Genomic Instability - Optogenetics
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University of Cambridge
Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
Using mouse models of pancreatic cancer to study pathways and proteins of interest in this disease.
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Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Pancreatic Cancer Centre
He qualified at Bristol University, and after completing house officer posts at the Bristol Royal Infirmary, worked at Bristol University...
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Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Pancreatic Cancer Centre
Asif Jah works at Cambridge University Hospital as a consultant surgeon in hepato-pancreatico-biliary (HPB) and transplant surgery. After...
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Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Pancreatic Cancer Centre
Neville Jamieson is a Consultant Surgeon in HPB Surgery at Addenbrooke?s Hospital.. He is also an Associate Lecturer in Surgery, Associate...
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University of Cambridge
Department of Oncology
CRUK Cambridge Institute
Research of the host response in cancer, in particular cancer cachexia and anti-cancer immunity. Translational research, including clinical...
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University of Cambridge
Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
Cambridge University Hospitals
I endeavour to integrate and optimise the pre-clinical development and science-led clinical application of novel therapies and novel...
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University of Cambridge
Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, MRC Cancer Unit
CRUK Cambridge Institute, Hutchison MRC Research Centre
Translational research. Cell-cell interactions. Biomimetic cancer models. Treatment response models. Early detection. Immune landscape...
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Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Pancreatic Cancer Centre
Siong-Seng Liau is an MRC and Academy of Medical Sciences Tenure-track Clinician Scientist with a concurrent post as a Consultant...
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University of Cambridge
Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
A subset of tumoural cells, which is identified by expression of Fibroblast Activation Protein alpha (FAP), possess immunosuppressive...
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Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
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University of Cambridge
Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
My group works within cancer systems biology and uses experimental and computational approaches to characterise cell signalling and cell-...
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University of Cambridge
Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
Investigating gemcitabine resistance mechanisms in pancreatic cancer.
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AstraZeneca
Early Drug Development Phase 1 studies First in human studies Cancer
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Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Oncology
Human cancer develops as a localized focus of uncontrolled cell growth and subsequently progresses into systemic disease. Cancer research...
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Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Pancreatic Cancer Centre
Raaj Praseedom is a Consultant HepatoPancreatoBiliary...
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University of Cambridge
Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
I am the Lab Head of the Cancer Research UK Pharmacology...
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University of Cambridge
Department of Genetics
CRUK Cambridge Institute
Consequences of centrosome amplification in p53 null and Kras positive pancreatic organoids
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Cancer Research UK Cancer Research Technologies (CRT), University of Cambridge, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Oncology, Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
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University of Cambridge
Department of Medicine
Fundamental adaptive immune mechanisms and their relationship to immunological and neoplastic human disease.
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University of Cambridge
MRC Cancer Unit
Hutchison MRC Research Centre
Human cancer cells almost always contain abnormal chromosomes, yet the connections between chromosomal instability and carcinogenesis are...
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