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Wednesday 24 April 2019
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Groundbreaking pancreatic cancer trial reaches patient milestone

A groundbreaking pancreatic cancer trial, which aims to match patients with more targeted and effective treatment for their tumours, has successfully recruited its 100th patient.

Run by Precision-Panc, a research programme and clinical trials project led by the University of Glasgow with major funding from Cancer Research UK, the trial brings a precision medicine approach to pancreatic cancer treatment for the first time in the UK.

Pancreatic cancer is the fifth most common cause of cancer death in the UK with a 5-year survival rate of less than 3%. Around 9800 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer per year in the UK and around 9000 people die.

In December 2017 Precision-Panc began working alongside colleagues in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board to recruit suitable pancreatic cancer patients to the Precision-Panc Master Protocol at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

The Glasgow-born project has been so successful in the last year, it has now been rolled out to 16 sites across the UK, offering potential treatment hope for pancreatic cancer patients nationwide.

As part of the protocol, each patient undergoes tumour biopsy to obtain material that is then used for molecular profiling at the Glasgow Precision Oncology Laboratory  (GPOL) within the University of Glasgow.  The results may then be used to help match patients to the most appropriate, currently available clinical trial.

This ability to link clinical data with the patient’s unique molecular profiling data enables rapid new discoveries, and enhances the delivery of precision medicine to current and future patients.

Professor Andrew Biankin, Chief Investigator of Precision-Panc and Regius Chair of Surgery and Director of the University of Glasgow Wolfson Wohl Cancer Research Centre, said: “I am extremely proud of what we have been able to achieve so far with Precision-Panc. Recruiting the 100th patient is a milestone for us and signals our ability to make real changes to the lives and survival rates of patients with pancreatic cancer.

The success we have achieved so far – including opening 17 sites across the country – is testament to what we are able to achieve and deliver for patients as a team.”

The overall aim of Precision-Panc is to make precision medicine a reality for more people with pancreatic cancer through building up knowledge that will ultimately allow clinicians to match patients with the most suitable treatment or clinical trial for them. The project aims to facilitate drug development, and ultimately new drug approval, allowing access and improving survival in patients with pancreatic cancer.

Dr Ian Walker, Director of Clinical Research at Cancer Research UK, said: “To make real progress in improving survival for people with pancreatic cancer, we need to understand which drugs will be most likely to provide benefit for individual patients. Through Precision-Panc, we are looking to do just that, and recruiting 100 patients is a huge landmark for this ambitious study.

While overall survival from cancer has doubled over the last 40 years, pancreatic cancer has only seen little improvement, and too many people die from the disease each year. Innovative studies like Precision-Panc are vital to changing the outlook for these patients and we look forward to seeing how it continues to progress.”