Pancreatic Cancer: Researchers From the University of Missouri's Identify New Biomarkers To Help Detect Pancreatic Cancer At Early And Treatable Stages
: One of the most difficult cancers to treat and one that has a high mortality rate is pancreatic cancer. One of the reasons is for is that pancreatic cancer is rarely detected at its early stages because symptoms often do not present themselves until after the cancer has progressed. Very often by the time the cancer is detected, invasive procedures such as surgery, chemotherapy or radiation are often needed to treat the cancer.
Researchers at the University of Missouri's College of Veterinary Medicine and School of Medicine have identified novel pieces of biological information, such as RNA, which may serve as biomarkers for early detection of pancreatic cancer.
Senthil Kumar, a research professor in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine told Thailand Medical News, "If we can identify the potential for disease development as early as possible, preventative measures can be taken by the patient, which will ultimately lead to improved health outcomes.”
He added, ”By drawing a blood sample in a minimally invasive manner, we can analyze the nano-carriers called 'exosomes' that are present in the bloodstream, which contain different biological information from normal and tumor cells."
The study findings are published in the journal: Scientific Reports: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-59523-0
For this new collaborative study between Kumar and surgeons Dr Eric Kimchi and Dr Jussuf Kaifi from Missouri University Health Care's Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, the study team analyzed the blood samples of healthy individuals and patients at different stages of pancreatic disease.
The study team identified novel RNAs that can be useful in distinguishing between healthy and cancerous conditions in the pancreas.
By screening both cancerous and non-cancerous subjects, the study team was able to compare biological patterns to see if certain populations, such as those with a family history of pancreatic cancer, might be more predisposed to develop the disease.
Kumar added, "Identifying these biomarkers early on can help us learn of one's susceptibility for disease development. Our goal eventually is to keep people well-informed so they have a greater awareness regarding any preventative measures."
Importantly while these studies are in the initial phase, more patient studies, which are currently ongoing, will shed light on the potential of identified biomarker applications in pancreatic disease.
The new interdisciplinary collaboration between the MU College of Veterinary Medicine and MU School of Medicine helps advance precision medicine, one of the core principles of the NextGen Precision Health Initiative.
Simply identifying specific biomarkers in various populations will ultimately lead to more individualized tr
eatment plans and improved health outcomes.
Once the identified biomarkers go into commercial production for usage in hospitals or other healthcare settings, it is expected that the treatable rates of pancreatic cancer would increase while mortality rates would decrease and the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer will no longer feel like a ‘death sentence.’
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