Funding for Queen’s pancreatic cancer drug research

Researchers say new urgent treatments for pancreatic cancer are required.

Researchers at Queen’s University in Belfast have secured a prestigious award from the Medical Research Council to develop a new antibody drug for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

Globally pancreatic cancer is still one of the most difficult cancers to treat, and new treatments are urgently required.

Recent statistics from Cancer Research UK shows that in the UK alone, almost 10,000 new cases are detected annually and the outlook for patients is much poorer than those suffering other cancers.

Queen's researchers are addressing this gap by designing an antibody that specifically targets the surface of the cancer cells.

Professor Dan Longley, Chair of Molecular Oncology at the Centre for Cancer Reserach Cell Biology (CCRCB) explains: "This approach, called immunotherapy, has been heralded as a game-changing approach for other cancers such as skin melanomas, but new innovations are required to treat pancreatic cancer and this is the focus of our current work."

To create these antibodies the Queen's team will work with local company Fusion Antibodies plc to develop these prototype molecules.

Professor Chris Scott, Chair of Pharmaceutical Biosciences said: "Pancreatic cancer is the 6th most common cause of cancer death in the UK.

"Our aim is to develop a new antibody drug that will re-arm and trigger the patients' own immune systems to combat the disease. This exciting project is very much in line with the research ethos of Queen's University, which is centred on Global Challenges. With this discovery, we hope to change the lives of people across the world who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer."