Why Was the Consortium Created?
The Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act of 2012 called on the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to develop scientific frameworks for research on recalcitrant cancers that have a 5-year relative survival rate of less than 20%, and are estimated to cause the death of at least 30,000 individuals in the United States per year.
Pancreatic cancer is a recalcitrant cancer with a 5-year relative survival rate of less than 7% and resulting in approximately 40,000 deaths per year (SEER Stat Fact Sheets: Pancreatic Cancer). NCI’s 2014 Scientific Framework for Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma identified four research priorities. These priorities were in part based on the recommendations of an expert panel of extramural scientists convened by the NCI in October 2012. One of the specific initiatives recommended by this panel was "evaluating longitudinal screening protocols concomitant with development of new molecular and imaging biomarkers for patients at high risk for PDAC (because of genetic factors or the presence of mucinous pancreatic cysts) who could be candidates for early surgical intervention."
To address this recommendation, the Funding Opportunity Announcement (PAR-15-289) was developed to form the PCDC.
What are the main objectives of the PCDC?
A Brief Summary of Early Detection in Pancreatic Cancer and Research Needs
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States, and PDAC represents over 90% of all pancreatic malignancies. The majority of PDAC are sporadic, occurring without a family history of the disease...Read the full summary.
The main objective of the consortium is to develop and test new molecular and imaging biomarkers to improve the detection of early stage pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and its precursor lesions and identify individuals who are at high risk of developing PDAC and are candidates for early intervention.
The scope of the studies include, but are not limited to:
- Development of more accurate and sensitive imaging methods to detect early stage PDAC and PanIN-3s that could be used to select patients for surgical intervention (imaging modalities can be anatomical, functional, or molecular);
- Development and validation of biomarkers to detect early stage PDAC and precursor lesions that could be used to select patients for surgical intervention;
- Development and integration of imaging approaches and multiplexed biomarker panels;
- Development of imageable biomarkers yielding 3D localization of PDAC and high-grade precursor lesions;
- Evaluation of longitudinal screening protocols using patients at high risk of developing pancreatic cancer;
- Evaluation of longitudinal screening protocols of patients with resected PDAC with subsequent follow-ups using imagining modalities;
- Longitudinal collection of samples and images from patients with pancreatic cysts to determine those lesions that are likely to progress to adenocarcinoma within a defined period (e.g., 3 years), and determination of cysts with high malignant potential that are resectable;
- Development of novel methods to obtain and interrogate pancreatic tissues containing preneoplastic lesions.