Pancreatic cancer is a delicate disease; It often grows silently and is only discovered when it is too late. Even if the disease is detected early, cells have usually already spread throughout the body, making treatment difficult.
Therefore, doctors are striving to find new ways to detect the disease as early as possible. A team at Duke Health may have found a new way to do just that.
The breakthrough in biomarkers
This team, led by Dr. Peter Allen focused on small growths called cysts that can appear in the pancreas. Most of the time, these cysts are harmless, but sometimes they can turn into cancer. Knowing what’s what can be life-saving.
To make this important distinction, the team used a cutting-edge technique called digital spatial RNA profiling. Without getting too technical, this tool allows scientists to closely examine specific cells in the cysts.
The researchers discovered that there are certain “markers” or clues in the cyst cells that could tell us if the cysts are likely to become cancerous.
Previous methods could only guess this with around 60% accuracy, but this new approach could be game-changing.
dr Allen explained that if they could identify these markers in the cyst fluid, it could lead to a type of “fluid biopsy.”
This would help doctors decide whether to remove the cyst before it turns into cancer. This is crucial as pancreatic cancer is becoming more common and it is still not clear why.
Future steps and hope
In addition, the Duke team is also studying the role of inflammation in pancreatic cancer. They are conducting a clinical trial to find out if anti-inflammatory therapy could help prevent these cysts from developing into cancer.
While this is still an early stage of research, it offers a glimmer of hope. dr Allen and his team are working hard to ensure their insights can be used to help patients as quickly as possible.
They believe that by focusing on these precancerous cysts, they could prevent the development of a difficult-to-treat disease in the first place.
If health is important to you, please read studies that eating too much peanuts may increase your risk of spreading cancer, as well as new drug combinations that could help treat pancreatic cancer.
For more information on cancer, see recent studies demonstrating that yogurt and a high-fiber diet can reduce the risk of lung cancer and the results that show new cancer treatments can reawaken the immune system.
The study was published into scientific advances.
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