A team of scientists have achieved a major milestone in developing effective treatment for pancreatic cancer.
The team of researchers at Glasgow University have been successful in identifying four key subtypes of pancreatic cancer and each of which have own distinct clinical characteristics and differential survival outcomes. There are hopes for development of new treatments for pancreatic cancer following the important laboratory breakthrough.
Data showed that pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in Western countries. This type of cancer is expected to become the second most common within a decade in western nations. The researchers have named the four types of cancers as Squamous, Pancreatic Progenitor, Immunogenic and ADEX or Aberrantly Differentiated Endocrine eXocrine.
The cancers were identified based on data from the Australian Pancreatic Cancer Genome Initiative and examination of key aspects of pancreatic tumours. The median survival rate of people with pancreatic cancer is just months and five year survival rate of less than five per cent. Experts said that the identification of types will help identify correct targeted treatment for each individual subtype of the disease.
Study co-leader Professor Andrew Biankin said, "There is an urgent need to better understand the molecular pathology of pancreatic cancer in order to improve patient selection for current treatment options, and to develop novel therapeutic strategies. The four subtypes that we have identified represent a reclassification of the disease and as such should provide a basis to offer new insights into personalised therapeutic options for individual patients and a launch pad to investigate new treatments."
The research was published in the journal Nature.