Research objectives: Detect and treat pancreatic cancer earlier

New therapy concepts against pancreatic cancer
According to experts, there are more and more cases of pancreatic cancer in Germany. This type of cancer is often symptom-free for a long time and is therefore often discovered too late. The mortality rates are very high. Researchers are now working on the basics for new therapy concepts.

Fourth most common cause of cancer death in Germany
Pancreatic cancer (pancreatic cancer) is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in men and women in Germany. A new research association in Göttingen is now working on the mechanisms that lead to the development and progression of this form of cancer. The findings of this project should help to identify and treat pancreatic cancer much earlier than before.

Illness only becomes noticeable late
The University of Göttingen (UMG), the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Göttingen site, the Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine and the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, both in Göttingen, are involved in the project.

The diagnosis and treatment of this disease is extremely difficult, according to a message from the UMG.

According to current forecasts, pancreatic carcinoma will therefore rank second among the causes of cancer-related death worldwide in the next ten years.

As a rule, symptoms only appear when the disease has already progressed and is no longer limited to the organ. Metastases can then often already be detected.

Diagnose pancreatic cancer earlier
"We urgently need better knowledge of the mechanisms that contribute to the development and the pronounced resistance to chemotherapy," said the spokesman for the association, Prof. Dr. Volker Ellenrieder from the UMG.

"Only then will we have a realistic chance of diagnosing pancreatic cancer earlier and achieving a breakthrough in therapy," said the doctor.

Dr. Elisabeth Heßmann from the UMG said: “Unfortunately, we are still lacking biomarkers that enable early detection of cancer. And there are no established imaging methods that are aimed at the early detection of pancreatic cancer. "

A central aspect of the research network is therefore the characterization of tumor-promoting signaling pathways as target structures for new drug therapy approaches.

Better therapy options through earlier diagnosis
Other research institutions have also worked in recent years on how pancreatic cancer can be recognized earlier and treated better.

Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) found that the ability to metastasize in pancreatic cells is often developed before a cell has even turned into a cancer cell.

They also found that a specific enzyme is responsible for the resistance of the tumors.

US experts, in turn, found that bacteria can help diagnose pancreatic cancer.

And, according to British researchers, pancreatic cancer could also be diagnosed with a urine test in the future.

All the insights that lead to early detection of the disease can improve therapy options.

According to experts, the treatment should best be individually adapted to the patient, as this improves the chances of a cure for pancreatic cancer. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: Webinar Pancreatic Cancer: Optimizing Nutrition. Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (January 2022).