Pancreatic cancer discovery to improve treatment


Australian scientists Thursday said they have discovered that tumours in the pancreas have unstable regions hidden inside their genomes, a finding that has benefits for cancer sufferers by developing personalised treatment.

The results of their research, published in the science journal Nature, represents a significant advance in better understanding of pancreatic cancer, the fourth most common cause of cancer death, Xinhua news agency reported.

Co-leader of the research group, Andrew Biankin, who conducted the work at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in conjunction with Queensland University, said tumours differed by their gene arrangements and this discovery was the key to more personalised treatment for pancreatic cancer patients whose tumours have “unstable” genomes.


The study looked at the whole genome of 100 patients’ tumours providing a detailed map of their tumour’s entire genomic structure.

The researchers said a specific class of chemotherapy drugs, which damage tumour DNA and used to treat some breast cancers, may also work on pancreatic tumours with unstable genomes.

The team will now use the findings to design a clinical trial that will give patients targeted treatment.