Pamela Maimela

MSc student at the University of Cape Town (Blackburn laboratory)

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Serological autoantibody signatures reveal potential biomarkers for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

Pancreatic cancer ranks amongst the most lethal malignancies worldwide, with an incidence rate almost equal to its mortality rate. The most common tumours, occurring in over 90% of cases, are pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDAC). In cancer, multiple aberrations result in an immune response being elicited, and in the production of autoantibodies against cancer testis antigens, which are proteins with restricted expression to the testis or placenta, but also expressed in cancer. Therefore, correlating specific autoantigen-autoantibody interactions may allude to the host immune response driving the development and progression of PDAC. Furthermore, these may prove to be possible diagnostic markers, or treatment targets. We, therefore, embarked on the analysis of serum to identify PDAC specific signatures and to subsequently determine their role and function in the pathogenesis of this malignancy, through a high parallel and high throughput microarray platform.