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A blood test for early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer by single extracellular vesicle analysis

Project Member(s): Zhu, Y.

Funding or Partner Organisation: Pankind, The Australian Pancreatic Cancer Foundation (prev AVNER Pancreatic Cancer Foundation) (Innovation Grant)
Pankind, The Australian Pancreatic Cancer Foundation (prev AVNER Pancreatic Cancer Foundation) (Innovation Grant)

Start year: 2023

Summary: Pancreatic cancer (PC) is the 3rd most lethal cancer in Australia in 2021. The only way to cure PC is to surgically resect it when it is still localized. However, 80% PC patients are diagnosed with locally advanced or metastatic tumours, making them ineligible for surgery. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop highly sensitive and affordable diagnostic tools to detect PC earlier. Liquid biopsy is a new revolution in cancer management. It allows analysis of tumours using circulating biomarkers in blood and other bodily fluids, in an invasive and repeatable way. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are one of the frontrunner biomarkers for liquid biopsy. However, many of the breakthrough tests have failed in larger clinical validation [Nature 523(7559): 177-182]. One of the key issues is that conventional bulk assays such as ELISA is unable to detect the small number of EVs during early stages of cancer, or provide accurate marker information due to Intratumor heterogeneity. The proposed research will develop a liquid biopsy using single EV analysis, which offers the greatest opportunity to overcome the issues with bulk assays. Instead of sophisticated instrument, we will use clinical-available flow cytometry, so the test can be integrated into routine clinical workflows.

FOR Codes: Expanding knowledge in the biomedical and clinical sciences, Expanding knowledge in engineering, Cancer diagnosis, Bioassays