"Researchers have developed a novel immunoassay for detecting early-stage pancreatic cancer that identifies and quantifies blood levels of the PAM4 protein – a unique antigen present in almost 90 percent of pancreatic cancers and precancers."

ASCO GI Cancer Symposium, 2010

Wow, that little snippet from the ASCO press releases from the Gastrointestinal symposium in Florida woke me up while sipping coffee this morning!

The reason is that pancreatic cancer is an insidious disease and most patients are diagnosed late, usually in stage IV when there is little that can be done to successfully attentuate the cancer.  For years, researchers have struggled with ways of detecting the cancer earlier when treatments are more likely to be effective without confusing cancer from pancreatitis.