EU funding for pancreatic cancer research in Erlangen

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Prof. Pilarsky, professor for surgical research and project coordinator for PRECODE (Image: FAU/G. Pöhlein)

Research network investigating new approaches to treat pancreatic cancer

The EU-funded project PRECODE (Pancreatic Cancer Organoids research), coordinated by Universitätsklinikum Erlangen, focuses on establishing new models for treating pancreatic cancer in clinical settings. The research network consists of 15 institutions from seven European nations and is investigating how modern 3D tissue models, organoids, can be used to treat pancreatic cancer. The project has received four million euros in funding from the EU.

At present, the only treatment offering any chance of a full recovery for patients of pancreatic cancer is to surgically remove the tumour. ‘However, it would be helpful if we could also treat the disease with cancer-killing drugs or radiation therapy,’ says Prof. Dr. Robert Grützmann, director of the Department of Surgery. ‘However, we do not yet know which drugs will work best for which patient. It is hoped that the new European research project will help us discover whether organoids, small micro-organs cultivated in the laboratory, can be used to help predict the success of treatment.’

Cultivating organoids is a new procedure. Initial investigations have shown that information gained from this approach can indeed be used to make an accurate prediction of the success of any particular course of treatment. ‘We, the researchers and doctors in Erlangen, hope that we will be able to offer this method to patients at Universitätsklinikum Erlangen in future,’ explains the project coordinator, Prof. Dr. Christian Pilarsky. ‘First of all, however, the international research training group will help us explore the concept in more detail.’

Further information

Prof. Dr. Christian Pilarsky
Phone: +49 9131 85 39522