HonorHealth Research Institute part of consortium developing ways to detect pancreatic cancer earlier
Oct 31, 2023, 8:00 PM | Updated: Nov 1, 2023, 9:39 am
PHOENIX — Researchers in Arizona and around the world are collaborating to develop technology that will work to detect pancreatic cancer earlier that what is currently available.
A $4.5 million grant is going to the City of Hope and TGen to lead an international group to validate a liquid biopsy for the early detection of pancreatic cancer, according to a press release.
There are various member sites, including: HonorHealth Research Institute in Arizona; the University of Southern California; University of Arizona; Howard University in Washington D.C.; and Samsung Medical Center in Japan.
Why is the research group studying pancreatic cancer?
Pancreatic cancer is currently the third-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and by 2030, it’ll be the second leading cause, Dr. Erkut Borazanci, director of Oncology at HonorHealth Research Institute, told KTAR News 92.3 FM.
“Part of the major problem with pancreatic cancer is by the time the diagnosis occurs, the cancer has advanced and it usually has metastasized beyond the pancreas to other organs, which makes the way they treat it a lot more difficult, and unlike other cancers … we don’t have an approved-screening test for pancreatic cancer detection,” Borazanci said.
He added that once patients are in their fourth stage, doctors begin considering ways their patients can live with pancreatic cancer and chemotherapy treatments, however, they can’t offer surgery or a solution once its spread past the pancreas.
Another issue when it comes to diagnosing is there isn’t one defining symptom. Some patients experience jaundice, abdominal pain, weight loss and/or changes in bowel movements.
The hope is that once the tests are approved, they can be widely accessible to everyone.
“Right now, the idea that we all want to see is everybody that goes to see their doctor … can talk to them and if they’re getting their routine blood test, they would get a test where they would look for, not only pancreatic cancer but, really several different types of cancers, and the idea that a test like that could not only catch the cancer in its early stages but potentially predate the actual presence of cancer is something that we’re all looking collectively to make this a reality,” Borazanci said.
These efforts and collaboration are getting scientists one step closer to their reality.