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New Findings Challenge Current View of How Pancreatic Cancer Develops

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Researchers in the multidisciplinary PanCuRx research initiative at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) and University Health Network’s Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, led by Dr. Faiyaz Notta and Dr. Steven Gallinger, today published new findings that challenge current beliefs about how and why pancreatic cancer is so aggressive.

This deadly disease often strikes “out of nowhere,” and the cancer is often inoperable by the time the patient experiences symptoms. Pancreatic cancer’s tendency to appear at an advanced stage had long been a medical mystery. Using whole genome sequencing, the team reconstructed the history of pancreatic cancer development in 100 independent tumours. Unexpectedly, they found that many of the important alterations that are thought to cause this disease actually occur “all at once,” similar to the idea of the “big bang.” The results were published in the journal Nature. Read more . . .

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