Urinary miRNA biomarkers
Up to 2015, there had been several research tests investigating the presence of miRNAs in body fluids using plasma and serum in a variety of solid tumours, including pancreatic cancer. Tests
were to determine if the presence of miRNAs could help in the early detection of certain cancers. (A miRNA is a molecule that functions in RNA silencing and the regulation of gene expression. Gene expression is the process by which the genetic information in a gene is made into a functional product such as a protein or RNA- RiboNucleic Acid present in all living cells).
LAP Research funded an alternative programme, testing miRNAs in urine rather than plasma or serum. Urine represented an attractive alternative biological fluid, as it allowed complete non-
invasive sampling, high volume collection and ease of repeated measurements. The Research Group identified a three-biomarker protein panel that detected early stage pancreatic
adenocarcinoma (PDAC) in urine samples.
In order to further improve the accuracy of early detection, LAP expanded this biomarker study and analysed the expression of miRNAs in a larger number of urine specimens. The results were conclusive and strongly suggested that the presence of miRNA biomarkers in urine could determine an earlier diagnosis within patients in the early stages of pancreatic cancer. This detection method is now widely used.