Project title: Glycomic characterization of pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms

Sharon Gorski, PhD BC Cancer

Sharon Gorski, PhD
  • Status: Active
  • Year(s): 2023
  • Grant Type: Pilot
  • Research Type: Translational
  • Primary Tumor Site: Pancreas

Project Description:

Dr. Gorski and team will characterize the glycomes, or the sugar molecules, of pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms (PNENs) to identify a new class of candidate biomarkers and therapeutic targets for PNEN patients. 

What critical NET problem will you try to solve through your research?

PNENs are characterized by substantial molecular and clinical heterogeneity which poses challenges for effective disease management. There is a need to uncover the molecular abnormalities that drive this type of cancer and to develop strategies that reliably identify high-risk patients.

Why is this important?

Patients with PNENs can vary greatly with respect to symptoms, disease progression and treatment response, but the reasons for such dramatic patient-to-patient variability are not well understood. Through the application of glycomics, this study has the potential to uncover a new class of biomarkers to help identify high-risk patients so that they can be treated with the best options for their disease. 

What will you do as part of this research project?

Dr. Gorski (molecular and cellular biology) and team (Dr. Mahal, glycomics; Dr. Schaeffer, pathology; Dr. Loree, oncology) will characterize the pattern of glycans, or sugars, in PNEN samples. They will then determine if there is a glycan pattern associated with high-risk features that could be used to help identify high-risk patients early. The glycan patterns from PNENs will also be used to help identify potential glycan-related alterations that may contribute to disease progression. 

How might your research improve the diagnosis and/or treatment of NETs? 

Our research has the potential to improve PNEN patient outcomes by leveraging glycomics technology to identify a new class of markers to help identify patients in need of early intervention. Our work will include the characterization of molecular tools that could be relatively easily incorporated into existing clinical practice.

What is your next step?

If we identify candidate glycan-related biomarkers that associate with high-risk PNEN patients in our cohort, we will collaborate with other groups to validate these markers in additional patient cohorts for subsequent prospective studies. Glycan-related alterations that contribute to disease progression will be evaluated for therapeutic target potential. 

Additional Details

  • City: Vancouver
  • State: BC
  • Country: Canada
  • Grant Duration: 1


NETRF funds laboratory research to understand the development of neuroendocrine tumors and translational research to explore new concepts in treatment. Research grant descriptions and research updates from NETRF are not intended to serve as medical advice. It can take years for research discoveries to be fully validated and approved for patient care. Always consult your health care providers about your treatment options.

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