Clinical Trials

Clinical Trials are essential in the development of new cancer treatments.

In a very small number of patients with a strong family history of pancreatic cancer (two or more close relatives affected), screening using endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) surveillance may be considered. The true value of screening is unknown and is performed as part of research studies. Research has shown that early detection and treatment on pancreatic cancer greatly improves survival rates.

A screening trial at Austin Health is currently underway. This trial combines the work of the departments of Surgery, Gastroenterology, Genetics and the Olivia Newton John Cancer Centre at Austin Health in collaboration with Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. The aim of the study is to identify and screen high-risk individuals using EUS, a diagnostic test to detect small changes to the pancreas.

The Australian Government, National Health and Medical Research Council has created some informative videos about the importance of clinical trials, you can find more information through their website.

Current Clinical Trials

PanCO is a phase II clinical trial in patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer which cannot be treated by surgery.

The study will investigate a new treatment called OncosilTM, which is an experimental radioactive medical device implanted (by endoscopic ultrasound) directly into the pancreas tumour.

Treatment of this type is known as brachytherapy, which is when a small amount of radiation is delivered directly to the cancerous tissue.

All participants in the trial will receive OncosilTM as well as standard of care chemotherapy (with either gemcitabine plus abraxane or with FOLFIRINOX).

This is a global clinical study and is taking place in Australia at major research centres including Monash Medical Centre in Melbourne, St Vincent’s and Westmead Hospitals in Sydney, Corrimal Cancer Care Centre, Wollongong and Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Further details can be found at the Australia New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry through the following link: Click here for more information

Previous Clinical Trials

The Forgotten Cancers Project aims to engage with 15,000 Australians who have been diagnosed as an adult, with one of the Project’s less common cancers.

The Forgotten Cancers Project has now concluded its recruitment phase and is no longer seeking participants.

Participants were asked to complete 4 questionnaires and provide a saliva sample for DNA analysis. A saliva collection kit will be mailed to all participants.

IMPaCT was a phase II clinical trial, assessing personalised treatment based on specific tumour characteristics in patients with recurrent or metastatic pancreatic cancer.

Less than 5% of patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer survive more than 5 years and sadly there have been no major improvements in outcomes over the last 20 years. Previous clinical trials in unselected patient populations have shown only modest improvements in survival when using the current standard chemotherapy, Gemcitabine. By selecting patients based on their unique genetic make-up and matching this information to targeted therapies, we hope that the response to these targeted therapies will be much higher, and subsequently improve overall survival.

The trial closed in December, 2016 and many important lessons were learned about what it will take to deliver personalised medicine in the future. Learn more about the trial here