October 7, 2011 — In light of Apple Inc. co-founder and CEO Steve Job's death from complications of pancreatic cancer, pancreatic cancer expert, researcher and innovator Kimberly Kelly, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Virginia, can discuss this disease and its complications, which affects one in 72 people in the U.S.
Kelly is developing an imaging technique that could be used to detect pancreatic tumor cells before they metastasize, when treatment is most likely to be effective. She and her research team have identified a biomarker unique to pancreatic ductal carcinoma cells, which make up more than 90 percent of pancreatic tumors. They also have identified a peptide that effectively binds with the tumors but not to noncancerous cells.
"If our imaging agent works," Kelly says, "we would hopefully be able to detect precancerous or small lesions that can be removed to improve patient prognosis and outcomes."