2021 Early Detection Innovation Grant - Prof John Rasko

Early Detection and Diagnosis of Pancreatic Cancer using Circulating Tumour Cells

Prof John Rasko is the Principal Investigator


Early Detection and Diagnosis of Pancreatic Cancer using Circulating Tumour Cells


2021 Early Detection Innovation Grant


The University of Sydney

Principal Investigator

Prof John Rasko

Time required to complete project

1 years

Project Summary

A simple blood test that can detect and diagnose early pancreatic cancer does not yet exist. Circulating tumour cells (CTCs) are cancer cells that can be detected in a patient’s blood. While CTCs are rare, the Project Team will employ the use of a specialised instrument called RareCyte, the first device of its kind in the southern hemisphere, which can reliably and accurately detect these cells. CTCs have been shown to exist in the circulation even at very early stages of disease, however, their use in diagnosis and detection has yet to be fully explored. This project will examine CTCs in the blood of patients who have abnormalities within their pancreas requiring further investigation. These are: 1. patients presenting with pancreatic cystic lesions, and 2. individuals with risk factors (such as strong family history or carry genetic abnormalities) that put them at higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer. The Project Team aims to establish CTCs as a complementary diagnostic and screening tool that can assist in guiding early intervention, thereby resulting in increased survival rates in pancreatic cancer patients.

A/Prof Payal Saxena, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
Prof James Kench, NSW Health Pathology
Dr Dannel Yeo, University of Sydney
Dr Sharon Sagnella, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital