Medical researchers believe that a new bank storage system will enable greater insight into pancreatic cancer to be acquired.
The bank in question will store tissue from patients, enabling scientists to examine the cancer which regrettably has the lowest survival rate.
At present, the majority of patients suffering with pancreatic cancer are informed that they have little chance of survival.
Generally, pancreatic cancer sufferers can expect to live less than one year once the disease is diagnosed.
Nearly 9,000 cases of pancreatic cancer are diagnosed every year, with almost exactly the same number of people also dying annually from the vicious condition.
But this new initiative aims to make a serious breakthrough into what is undoubtedly a debilitating form of cancer.
The bank will be collecting samples from six hospitals located in England and Wales, with the ultimate aim of producing superior treatments and earlier diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
Merely 1 per cent of sufferers are able to survive for a decade after the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, and there has been no improvement in this survival rate over the last 40 years.
But researchers believe that this initiative will make it possible to improve this depressing picture.
Commenting on the issue, Professor Hemant Kocher, from Barts Cancer Institute, stated his belief that the new bank initiative would help in diagnostic terms.
“Surgery is possible in only about 10-15 per cent of patients with pancreas cancer at the moment. We hope this tissue bank will help us develop diagnostic tests so that more patients can have surgery. If diagnosed early enough, they can have surgery. Pancreatic cancer is a complex disease, with a number of alterations in the cancer cells and the cells surrounding the cancer.”
The Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund (PCRF) raised £2m to fund the bank, with the intention of positively impacting upon the pancreatic cancer situation in the United Kingdom.
And the organisation believes that the vastly increased number of samples that the initiative will make available will be particularly valuable to researchers.
The PCRF’s founder, Maggie Blanks, stated: “A nationally co-ordinated tissue bank will not only ensure that more samples become available to researchers, but that these are quality controlled to provide a much better basis for the very best research to be carried out.”
Pancreatic cancer is the twelfth most common cancer in the world (joint position with kidney cancer), with 338,000 new cases diagnosed in 2012.
The early stages of this cancer do not usually produce symptoms, so the disease is generally advanced when it is diagnosed.