2022 Early Detection Innovation Grant - A/Prof David Cavallucci

Lighting up the needle in the haystack: targeting malignant stroma to detect early pancreatic cancer on PET.

A/Prof David Cavallucci is the Principal Investigator


Can the molecules carried by exosomes help to diagnose pancreatic cancer early?


2022 Early Detection Innovation Grant


Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital

Principal Investigator

A/Prof David Cavallucci

Time required to complete project

1 year

Project Summary

Positron emission tomography (PET) uses a type of chemical called a “tracer” to identify cancerous tissue in the body. Tumour stroma is the abnormal scar tissue which surrounds pancreatic cancer from an early stage, helping it to survive and grow. A PET tracer which targets this scar tissue has recently been discovered. This has already been shown to detect small tumours that are invisible on other imaging. The research team will recruit consenting patients with possible early pancreatic cancer to undergo PET scan with this new tracer. Patients’ tissue samples will also undergo laboratory analysis to gain a deeper understanding of how the tracer interacts with early pancreatic cancer. By utilising the expertise of both doctor and scientist we will discover new information about how this exciting new technology could diagnose pancreatic cancer before it is too late.

A/Prof Fiona Simpson, The University of Queensland
Dr William McGahan, The University of Queensland
Prof John Hooper, Mater Research Institute
A/Prof Paul Thomas, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital
Dr Nick Butler, Princess Alexandra Hospital