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Microbial Modulation of the Tumour Microenvironment in Pancreatic Cancer: Early Diagnostic Markers and Candidate Therapeutic Targets

Professor Jonathan Blackburn

Prof Jonathan Blackburn

    Prof Jonathan Blackburn

Title of the project

Microbial modulation of the tumour microenvironment in pancreatic cancer: early diagnostic markers and candidate therapeutic targets

Project Description

The project employs a multi-omic approach to biomarker identification, validation and elucidation of molecular mechanisms associated with the disease. The successful completion of this project could help develop a novel method to detect pancreatic cancer.

Following the validation of a novel panel of an autoantibody biomarker-based test for early diagnosis of Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC) identified recently in the Blackburn lab, we will translate the panel onto an FDA-certified platform for clinical implementation. We have previously shown that autoantibody signatures in PDAC patients can be obtained from serum and dried blood spots, providing a plausible means to screen at-risk populations. Thus, This project will impact cancer control in SA by creating and implementing an early Dx test for PDAC and opening the door to population screening for early- and potentially pre-symptomatic cancer detection. Similarly, our novel investigation into the role of the tumour microbiome (tMB) in PDAC may yield novel treatment targets since, if the tMB plays a role in PDAC development and treatment resistance, targeting the tMB may be an effective adjunctive therapy. This project will also generate a framework that can be rapidly applied to many other high-priority cancers in South Africa and globally.

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