Metastatic pancreatic cancer has a low survival rate and even with the best existing therapies the survival is less than a year. Despite advances in treatments and outcomes for other cancers, this has not happened for pancreatic cancer with no advances in mortality reduction observed over the past decade. This grim outlook drives our research, which focuses on developing novel diagnostic strategies for pancreatic cancer.

There are some known alterations in some cellular signalling pathways driving tumourigenesis and metastasis. As part of this project, we will be focusing on gaining a greater understanding of cancer secretory molecules and how they can be exploited as a unique diagnostic strategy for pancreatic cancer.

We hypothesise (i) that exosomes released by pancreatic cancers contain specific nucleic acid species; and that (ii) high-sensitivity genomic detection methods can be exploited to provide a novel diagnostic for the early detection and management of pancreas cancer.

Therefore, the aim of this project is: To identify exosomal nucleic acids driving etastatic related function from a panel of unique patient-derived pancreatic cancer cell lines with differing levels of metastatic potential.

The understanding of the mechanisms of exosome nucleic acid composition will lead the way towards novel diagnostic approaches, to not only improve outcomes for patients with pancreatic cancer, but also for sufferers of other cancers with similar mechanisms driving their cancer.

Research Area 
Project type 
Project Grant
Year of funding