From GenomeWeb by John Gilmore –
An international research team led by the Baylor Scott & White Research Institute (BSWRI) and Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) has begun developing an early detection system for pancreatic cancer after securing a federal grant from the National Cancer Institute.
According to Ajay Goel, one of the study’s principal investigators and director of the Center for Gastrointestinal Research at BSWRI, previous studies have not discovered exclusive liquid biopsy markers for early stage pancreatic cancer. Previous research has only applied known RNA biomarkers in other contexts or cancers by validating them for pancreatic cancer, “instead of discovering comprehensively sequencing-based approaches” for early stage pancreatic cancer. In addition, most teams have focused on biomarkers for advanced stages of pancreatic cancer, which Goel believes is counterintuitive to treatment.
Goel’s team at BSWRI will examine a variety of molecular markers including proteins and DNA, while focusing most importantly on microRNAs (miRNAs), which help regulate genes and cancer development. They aim to discover candidate cell-free and exosomal-miRNA biomarkers using whole genome small RNA-Seq in matched tissue and plasma from patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), precancerous neoplasms (PNs), pancreatitis, and normal pancreas.