In a new study in Cancer Research, researchers at the University of California, San Diego, and their collaborators report that they identified a biomarker for early pancreatic cancer, reports ABC News' Mikaela Conley. The kinase PEAK1 is activated early in the development of pancreatic cancer, the researchers found, and they were able to detect it in biopsies of malignant tumors at every stage in humans as well as in mouse models.
"This study is just one more piece in the puzzle; however, it is probably just a small piece, but still contributes to our understanding as to what drives pancreatic cancer," the University of Nebraska Medical Center's Aaron Sasson tells Conley. "The importance in understanding how pancreatic cancer develops is critical if we are ever going to develop effective treatments for this deadly disease." Conley adds that the data is preliminary, and it is unclear whether this biomarker will have any clinical relevance for patients.