Pancreatic cancer is a lethal disease that presents late due to non-specific symptoms in early stage. The discovery of non-invasive strategies to achieve early diagnosis and augmented prognostication are urgently needed. Circulating tumour cells (CTCs) and exosomes derived from patients with pancreatic cancer have the potential to be utilized as informative biomarkers to address this clinical need. A CTC is a cell released into the blood and lymph circulation from a primary tumour. Exosomes are small “bubbles” released by cells within our body. Tumour exosomes carry sufficient information to control the activity of recipient cells, whether they are tumoral or healthy, leading to responses supporting tumour growth or dissemination. They mediate intercellular communication by transferring bioactive molecules to recipient cells that become more aggressive.
Here in this research project, we will explore the feasibility and safety of sampling portal venous blood via endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), and detect portal venous CTCs and analyse different markers of exosomes by the use of multiple state of the art technologies. We aim to explore the potential molecular mechanisms in tumour microenvironment and mechanisms of drug resistance. This approach is highly relevant with the introduction of precision medicine and personalised care.