Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The discovery of pancreatic cancer biomarkers (naturally occurring molecules, genes or characteristics which can be used to confirm the presence or predict the outcome of a cancer) is vital in understanding patient outcomes and finding new therapeutic targets.

Pancreatic cancer

In recent years, improved understanding of the biology of pancreatic cancers has resulted in new combination therapies being developed, including the development of the first successful biomarker-guided therapy in pancreatic cancer known as the POLO trial. A recent paper from the SCALOP-1 trial team, led by Professor Somnath Mukherjee, was published in BJC Nature, which has identified proteins that could act as a new biomarker to predict a patient’s outcome from pancreatic cancer. The chemokine protein known as CCL5, found circulating in patient blood, was found in low quantities in patients with better overall pancreatic cancer survival (around 18.5 months, rather than less than a year).

It is already known that CCL5 is involved in tumour invasion, tumour metastasis and the creation of an immune-system-suppressing micro-environment that allows pancreatic cancer to develop quickly. Its identification as a biomarker makes CCL5 a perfect new target for potential drug treatments. For example, blockade therapies that target the CCL5-CCR5 pathway and reduce the presence of CCL5, may produce new opportunities to improve the outcome of other immunotherapies that pancreatic cancer patients are undergoing.

Co-lead of this study, Professor Eric O’Neil from Department of Oncology, is now investigating combination of CCL5 antagonist drugs with immunotherapy and radiotherapy drugs in animal models, which he hopes will lead to the development of new, more-effective pancreatic treatments in the future.

Read the full blog on the Cancer Research UK Oxford Centre website

Similar stories

Communication at the crossroads of the immune system

In his inaugural article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences as an NAS member (elected 2021), Prof Mike Dustin and his research team in Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences have explained how messages are passed across the immunological synapse. The research could have implications for future vaccine development and immunotherapy treatments.

Showcase success for Science Together research

A local collaboration teaming researchers from the University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University with the Urban Music Foundation finished on a high note with an immersive sound and art installation at Oxford’s Old Fire Station.

Oxford spinout trials revolutionary bioelectronic implant to treat incontinence

The first participants in a clinical trial of a bioelectrical therapy to treat incontinence have received their “smart” bioelectronic implants.

COVID-19 is a leading cause of death in children and young people in the US

A new study led by researchers at the University of Oxford’s Department of Computer Science has found that, between 2021 and 2022, COVID-19 was a leading cause of death in children and young people in the United States, ranking eighth overall. The results demonstrate that pharmaceutical and public health interventions should continue to be applied to limit the spread of the coronavirus and protect again severe disease in this age group.

Three or more concussions linked with worse brain function in later life

Experiencing three or more concussions is linked with worsened brain function in later life, according to new research.

New blood test could save lives of heart attack victims

Researchers in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics (DPAG) have developed a blood test that measures stress hormone levels after heart attacks. The test – costing just £10 – could ensure patients receive timely life-saving treatment.