Associate Professor Andrew Metz, Director of the Jreissati Family Pancreatic Centre, is set to undertake a one-of-a-kind multidisciplinary research project. PanKind’s 2020/21 Early Detection Initiative has funded this ground-breaking project.
The Jreissati Family Pancreatic Centre at Epworth is one of the proud recipients of the Pankind Early Detection Initiative. The grant aims to fund projects that enable the early detection of pancreatic cancer. Patient outcomes for those with pancreatic cancer have seen little improvement over the past 30 years. With this grant, our team hope to be able to change these statistics.
The grant enables the Jreissati Family Pancreatic Centre at Epworth to collaborate with Royal Melbourne Hospital and develop a novel clinical screening tool for people with diabetes and chronic pancreatitis. By reclassifying diabetes disease subtypes, the project aims to find a link between type 3c diabetes diagnosis and pancreatic cancer.
They will achieve this by using their database of more than 10,000 patients with diabetes and/or chronic pancreatitis treated at Epworth and Royal Melbourne Hospital. The long term goal of this project will be to use this potential link to actively screen people who may be at high risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
“We know that patients with pancreatic cancer, about 50 per cent of them, have a diagnosis of diabetes. And about a quarter of patients have had a diagnosis of diabetes within the previous three years. This really gives us an exciting opportunity to try and work out which one of these patients, that’s been diagnosed with diabetes or has underlying pancreatic disease, would be suitable for ongoing testing to see whether pancreatic cancer can be detected.” - Associate Professor Andrew Metz
Why early detection matters
Pancreatic cancer has one of the lowest survival rates of all cancers in Australia. The symptoms of pancreatic cancer are like those of common stomach conditions. As a result, most patients receive their diagnosis in the later stages of the disease. Associate Professor Andrew Metz says early detection is the key to improving outcomes for patients.
This project sees different health disciplines come together. The aim is to combine their knowledge on pancreatic disease.
“We’ve long known about the interaction between diabetes, chronic pancreatitis, exocrine insufficiency and pancreatic cancer. And for one of the first times, we’ve assembled a team that includes endocrinologists, gastroenterologists, pancreatic surgeons as well as very enthusiastic research assistants.”
Thank you to PanKind, The Australian Pancreatic Cancer Foundation, for awarding us the Early Detection Initiative grant. Find out more about the grant at pankind.org.au