We’re investing £10 million to speed up our understanding of pancreatic cancer and work towards personalising treatment.
PRECISION-Panc is an ambitious programme of research that seeks to uncover the molecular profile of individual patients with pancreatic cancer, to learn more about the disease and to pave the way for patients entering clinical trials in a way that matches their tumour biology to the type of treatment.
At £10 million, it’s our biggest standalone investment in pancreatic cancer research to date and builds on our strategic focus on the disease.
Why pancreatic cancer?
Research has helped double cancer survival rates, but progress has not been equal across all cancer types. People with pancreatic cancer have some of the lowest chances of survival, which is why we named it one of four priority ‘cancers of unmet need’ in our 2014 Research Strategy.
A transformative multi-trial initiative
Professor Andrew Biankin at the University of Glasgow is leading the PRECISION-Panc project. His team will set up three clinical trials, across two waves of research, with the scope to add more trials in the future. They will be focusing on defects in the DNA damage response (DDR) pathway, which are seen in approximately 20% of patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC).
In the first wave they will establish the best way to collect and analyse the molecular profile of tumour samples from patients with pancreatic cancer. Each patient will have five samples taken from their tumour for analysis at diagnosis.
In the second wave of research, the team will apply this understanding to allocate patients to trials with different treatments, depending on the molecular nature of their tumour.
Matching the right treatment to the right patients
Precision Panc will transform how we treat pancreatic cancer by matching the right treatment to the right patients.
Because the disease is so aggressive, patients usually receive just one line of treatment if they’re lucky, so we need to get it right the first time. It’s important we offer all patients the opportunity to be part of research alongside their standard care.
Professor Andrew Biankin.
PRECISION-Panc will give valuable insight into the molecular and genetic changes that have allowed the cancer to form, and will start feeding this understanding back into future clinical trials, to start matching patients to particular trial treatments based on molecular profile.
Read more about PRECISION-Panc
Summary of the clinical trials
This is an adaptive phase 2/3 study of FOLFOX and nab-paclitaxel (FOLFOX-A) versus gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel (GA) in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer, with integrated biomarker evaluation.
FOLFOX-A is a novel platinum containing regimen whereas GA is the standard of care. All patients with metastatic disease will be eligible and will use progression-free survival as the primary endpoint.
This trial is comparing FOLFOX-A and GA in the neoadjuvant setting (i.e. before surgery to try and reduce the tumour size) for patients with resectable or borderline resectable pancreatic cancer. The primary aim here is to try and define the biomarkers of therapeutic responsiveness by comparing pre- and post-treatment biopsies, and seeing if there is a difference in the biomarker response between patients with operable and advanced diseases and comparing these to PRIMUS-001.
PRIMUS-003 – AstraZeneca supported trial
An initial open-label, non-randomised, single arm, phase 2 study combining myeloid depletion by CXCR2 inhibition in combinations with checkpoint inhibition (PDL-1. This will be offered as second line therapy in patients with metastatic PDAC. Patient samples will be taken pre-treatment and post treatment, but the primary objective here is to test the efficacy of the AZ drug, and to molecularly profile all the patient samples.
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The development of new treatments for pancreatic cancer is set to be transformed by a network of clinical trials, aiming to find the right trial for the right patient, after a £10 million investment from Cancer Research UK.
Be part of changing the future for pancreatic cancer
We offer a range of funding opportunities at all career stages, and across the research pipeline, and we’ll prioritise funding for projects of sufficient scientific quality that focus on cancers of the pancreas, brain, lung and oesophagus.