Supervisors: David Lewis (CRUK Beatson Institute), David Chang (University of Glasgow)
Pancreatic cancer has a very poor prognosis and although there are occasional responders to novel treatment there is no effective method to identify these patients prior to commencing therapy. To address this pancreatic cancer has been classified into 4 subtypes with distinct transcriptional and phenotypic signatures. This classification provides an opportunity to stratify patients and to develop subtype-specific cancer therapy. Genomic and phenotypic stratification is performed on resected tumour samples or biopsies, however due to sampling bias, classification based on a single sample may not accurately reflect tumour heterogeneity. Compared with biopsy, non-invasive imaging with PET/MRI enables molecular classification in the primary tumour and metastases, providing an opportunity to identify intra-patient heterogeneity and monitor tumour evolution during the course of treatment.
This project will examine whether molecular subtypes of pancreatic cancer have distinct imaging signatures determined by non-invasive PET/MR imaging and whether these signatures can act as surrogates for identification of tumour heterogeneity and tumour evolution. This will involve collaboration within a multidisciplinary team of clinicians, chemists, physicists, bioinformaticians and cancer biologists. You will gain experience of a range of molecular profiling and imaging technologies with opportunities to design innovative biomarker driven clinical trials to improve patient selection for more effective therapy.
Keywords: Pancreatic cancer; imaging; genomics biomarker; stratification
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