Pancreatic Cancer: A Lack Of Knowledge Of Tumour Subtypes Prevents Effective Treatment
Pancreatic cancer is currently the 3rd leading cause of cancer death in North America (4th in Canada). Yet, for decades, research has been underfunded, receiving less than 2% of government research funding. As a result, pancreatic cancer remains the only major cancer where the incidence and mortality rates continue to increase and survival rates remain in the single digits (8%).
Unlike other major cancers, where knowledge of individual tumour characteristics has been translated into better prognostic tools and more effectively tailored treatment approaches, surprisingly little is known about how differences between individual tumours influence pancreatic cancer progression and chemotherapy response.
In the absence of defined distinct pancreatic cancer subtypes and markers predictive of treatment response, pancreatic cancer continues to be largely treated as a single disease.
A Pan-Canadian Research Initiative To Define Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer Subtypes
Pancreatic Cancer Canada has launched the first multi-disciplinary research partnership between major cancer centres across Canada. PancOne™ is designed to maximize the expertise and unique clinical and research infrastructure already existing to ensure there is no duplication of research.
The first project that will study clinically relevant metastatic pancreatic cancer subtypes and has the potential to dramatically impact the clinical management of pancreatic cancer by optimizing individual treatment strategies, and helping to direct new drug development, thereby improving overall pancreatic cancer survival.
The participating centres of excellence are:
This partnership will build on the infrastructure available in Canada including expertise in clinical trials, metastatic pancreatic cancer management, familial pancreatic cancer, cancer genomics and state of the art tumour sequencing facilities at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) and BC Cancer Agency Genome Science Centre (BCCA GSC), in order to define clinically relevant metastatic pancreatic cancer subtypes, understand mechanisms underlying sensitivity and resistance to chemotherapy, and facilitate precision medicine approaches.
This study will be available to patients with advanced pancreatic cancer, and will involve tumour biopsies, molecular analysis of the cancers, and ongoing close monitoring for response to therapy. In addition the molecular analysis information will be used to direct subsequent therapy tailored to specific characteristics of that specific cancer.