North East Innovation Lab secures a share of £218,000 to develop a new diagnostic for early detection of cancer
The North East Innovation Lab are part of a consortium receiving £218,000 to develop a new diagnostic for pancreatic cancer.
The award is jointly supported by Cancer Research UK, the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The project involves collaboration with University College London, University of Bristol, University of Surrey and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.
Currently pancreatic cancer is difficult to detect until an advanced stage which reduces treatment options for patients and can mean the cancer is incurable. In early-stage pancreatic cancer, DNA from cancer cells are released in tiny quantities into the blood stream, but they are difficult to detect. Collaborators within the project will develop methods to amplify the signal to make them more detectable. The team at the North East Innovation Lab (NEIL), part of Newcastle Hospitals, will evaluate the assay and verify its performance.
Amanda Winter, diagnostic evaluation healthcare specialist at NEIL, attended a Cancer Research UK Early Detection Innovation Workshop where she was joined by a whole host of experts across university, NHS and private industry to discuss early detection ideas.
“This is a really exciting project to be involved in which could have a far-reaching impact for patients with pancreatic cancer. This particular cancer usually presents at a late stage meaning treatment is limited and the cancer is often incurable. Developing a new diagnostic for early detection has potential to make the cancer more treatable and help save lives.”
According to Cancer Research UK:
- There are around 10,500 new pancreatic cancer cases in the UK every year, which equates to 29 every day
- Pancreatic cancer is the 10th most common cancer in the UK, accounting for 3% of all new cancer cases
- 1 in 4 (25.4%) of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in England survive their disease for one year or more
Dr Alexis Webb, research programme manager for early detection at Cancer Research UK, said:
“With the support of MRC and EPSRC, our innovation workshops bring together a variety of disciplines and approaches to tackle the tough challenges we face in being able to detect cancer in its earliest stages.
The project team has proposed a creative idea to try to improve the detection of pancreatic cancer, which is notoriously hard to treat and has been identified by Cancer Research UK as a cancer of unmet need. While the work is still in a conceptual phase, we are excited by the potential to amplify the early signals of pancreatic cancer to make it more detectable.”