Ru Chen

Interdisciplinary Training

Ru Chen

"Identification of Pancreatic Cancer Biomarkers Using Proteomics"

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States, with a 4% five-year survival rate.  The high mortality of this disease is predominantly because of the advanced stage of the disease at the time of diagnosis and a  lack of effective treatments.  Better biomarkers of pancreatic cancer are thus urgently needed to improve the early detection of this deadly disease.

Proteomics provides a powerful approach for the systematic investigation and identification of disease-specific protein targets.  We plan to apply a proteomics approach to identify and characterize potential biomarkers for the early detection of pancreatic cancer from pancreatic juice and blood plasma of patients who have pancreatic cancer, pre-cancer, and normal controls.  Dr. Brentnall is an expert in the study of neoplastic progression in gastrointestinal cancers, particularly pancreatic cancer.  Dr. Aebersold is an internationally recognized expert in proteomics.  The unique collaboration of Dr. Brentnall and Dr. Aebersold will be a key for success in this project.

The use of proteomics technology in cancer biomarker discovery has enormous potential.  To our knowledge, this project will be the first study of biomarker discovery with the application of ICAT/MS technology developed by Dr. Aebersold.  Our study will lead to the knowledge and/or discovery of better biomarkers of pancreatic cancer and its precursors, which in turn will lead to earlier diagnosis, therapeutic intervention, and potentially improve the diagnosis of this deadly disease.