Our pancreatic cancer research

Our pancreatic cancer research

Garvan’s pancreatic cancer research is diverse, focusing on translating basic scientific discoveries into the clinic. In the Cancer Division, Dr Paul Timpson and Dr Marina Pajic are working to define the genetic characteristics of pancreatic cancer, developing biomarkers prognosis and therapeutic responsiveness, and understanding the molecular mechanisms of resistance in order to develop new treatment strategies.

You can help improve patient outcomes by supporting our pancreatic cancer research.

Key areas of investigation

Dr Marina Pajic
Dr Marina Pajic

Personalised Medicine

Dr Marina Pajic leads a team applying genomic data to unlock the molecular biology of pancreatic cancer for new cancer treatments tailored towards individual patients.  Working as part of the Australian Pancreatic Cancer Genome Initiative (APGI) and drawing on the expertise of 13 clinical sites across the country, Dr Pajic’s team is testing new drugable targets and therapeutic regimens.

‘We are looking at developing new ways to treat pancreatic cancer where the right treatments are given to the right patients and the therapy is tailored according to the biology of each individual patient tumour.’ 

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The Australian Pancreatic Cancer Genome Initiative (APGI)

The APGI is an extensive collaborative network of research groups and clinical teams, spanning across local, national and international levels. The APGI has mapped the genome of pancreatic cancer in a landmark effort as part of Australia’s contribution to the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC). This work has revealed valuable information about the extreme complexity of how pancreatic cancer develops, which is proving to be unique for each patient from a genetic standpoint.

The genomic data has provided researchers with the power to identify key genetic “targets” for which new treatment strategies can be designed to pinpoint. This work lead to the first Australian personalised medicine clinical trial in pancreatic cancer, called the Individualised Molecular Pancreatic Cancer Therapy (IMPaCT) trial.

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Dr Paul Timpson
Dr Paul Timpson

Stopping the spread

Dr Paul Timpson leads a group using cutting-edge imaging technologies to pinpoint the molecular drivers of pancreatic cancer as part of its surrounding environment in order to stop it from spreading. Nanotechnology shows in real time that pancreatic cancer tumour cells spread by ‘unzipping’ from each other.

‘Our aim is to effectively “rezip” the tumour cells back together using particular drugs called “anti-invasives” to retard cancer spread.’ Dr Paul Timpson.

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