Imaging-based Subtypes of Pancreatic Cancer

Life Sciences, Clinical Trials, Pharmaceutical, Biomarkers, Laboratory Technology,
  • Monday, June 26, 2017

The outcomes of pancreatic cancer have seen little improvement over the past three decades. The disease is associated with a poor prognosis and lack of response to chemotherapy and radiation. To date, there are no reliable ways to separate patients into prognostic groups based on the cancer biology, which would be expected to help tailor therapy for each individual. To address the need to stratify patients, we hypothesized that diagnostic computed tomography imaging would reveal differences in the biological properties of pancreatic cancer and patient outcomes. 

Definiens has developed quantitative methods to analyze the CT images and diagnostic pathology of patients, associating these measurements with outcomes. A distinct imaging signature of pancreatic cancer has been identified that associated with the amount of stroma in the tumor microenvironment, the biology of the cancer cells, response to treatments, and survival outcomes of the patients. The findings indicate that quantitative characterization of routine diagnostic scans for pancreatic cancer can provide clinically and biologically meaningful information to help physicians make treatment decisions.


Eugene J. Koay, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Eugene Koay’s research aims to improve patient outcomes through translational research that bridges physical, biological, and engineering sciences. Early in his career, he was fortunate to work with great mentors, including Dr. Richard Smalley (carbon nanotubes), Dr. Kyriacos Athanasiou (cartilage tissue engineering with stem cells), Dr. Mauro Ferrari (physics of cancer and nanotechnology), and Dr. Jason Fleming (pancreatic cancer). These experiences provided exposure to the fundamentals of physics, biology, bioengineering, computer programming, imaging analysis, clinical research, and statistics. Those foundations have helped them conduct unique investigations into the connections between the biology and physics of cancer. For example, their recent published work supports the idea that the physical properties of pancreatic cancer are a reflection of the underlying biology and correlate with the delivery of, response to, and outcome after cytotoxic therapies. Ongoing work is building on these findings and incorporating principles of molecular biology, physics, and engineering to study pancreatic and other gastrointestinal cancers. One application of this approach includes the identification of imaging-based biomarkers in patients, which can aid in the design and interpretation of future therapeutic clinical trials and in day-to-day clinical management.

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Who Should Attend?

This webinar will be ideal for Medical, Pharmaceutical, Biotech and Diagnostics executives, for directors and vice presidents of therapeutic areas and Chief Scientific, Medical and Executive Officers.  It will also be informative for lab and study directors, and medical directors.

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We improve patient lives by unlocking the tissue phenome.

In oncology, therapeutic strategies have shifted from a direct assault on cancer cells to recruiting the immune system for that purpose. Our mission is to accelerate breakthroughs for this approach by helping scientists leverage Tissue Phenomics to deepen understanding of disease biology and immune system mechanisms, to bring multi-omics data into a cancer-relevant context, and to facilitate the translation of new insights into novel therapies and treatment strategies. Our vision is to create unique patient profiles for an individualized standard of care, where patients experience fewer side effects and live longer.

Definiens’ Tissue Phenomics approach was awarded the 2013 Frost and Sullivan Company of the Year Award for Global Tissue Diagnostics and Pathology Imaging. For more information, please visit:

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