Meet The Team How-Tos Our Supporters How to Participate in Precision Panc Membership Meeting Minutes Remit of Steering Committee Patient Stories Documents Working with the NHS Patient Public Engagement Meetings Governance News Clinicians Area Clinical Trials What is precision medicine? Information and Support What is Pancreatic Cancer? Current Research Our Researchers Privacy Policy Patients and Carers Contact Us About us Home
Patient 600 recruited Precision-Panc Enters 500th patient to platform Professor Andrew Biankin – it’s about time Pancreatic Cancer is debated in the Scottish Parliament Please watch this very moving video from NIHR West of England Exciting week for the Precision-Panc project Glasgow to host Pancreatic Symposium – Friday 21st May 2021 Survey on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on pancreatic cancer research Precision-Panc in the Press Precision-Panc / PRIMUS 002 Opens a new site Precision-Panc Re-opens to Recruitment Information on COVID-19 and Pancreatic Cancer from PCUK Precision-Panc and PRIMUS studies suspended to recruitment Precision-Panc Recruits Patient 300 Paul Taylor tells us about his Precision-Panc experience Precision-Panc help raise funds for Pancreatic Cancer Scotland Precision-Panc Recruits Patient 250 Marking World Pancreatic Cancer Day Precision-Panc working with myTomorrows Precision-Panc Roundtable Final Report New Glasgow Cancer Assays by GPOL and Agilent Technologies Precision-Panc opens site 25! Precision-Panc Summer Newsletter Precision-Panc Recruits Patient 200! Precision-Panc Brochure Royal Bournemouth Hospital Opens Finding the right treatment for the patient CRUK animate the Precision-Panc platform CRUK / Precision-Panc Video Professor Biankin receives the Order of Australia in Queen’s Birthday Honours Precision-Panc opens its 20th Site Precision Panc Spring Newsletter Precision-Panc Opens Site 19 Recent Media Pieces Regarding 100 Patient Milestone Site 17 opens for Precision-Panc PRIMUS 002 opens Informing the Future of Genomic Medicine in Scotland Report is Published St James’s University Hospital Opens Precision-Panc Opens its 15th site Glasgow Experts Lead UK Pancreatic Cancer Research 11th site opens to PRECISION-Panc Scotsman Conferences Blogspot November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month First Precision-Panc Trial Opens In Glasgow Cancer Research UK Investment Landscape of pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer Whole Genome Sequencing from EUS biopsies Upcoming Pancreas 2016 Conference Scottish Genome Partnership Announced Identification of four Pancreatic Cancer subtypes offers new treatment insight into the disease First Minister announces £4m ‘Precision Medicine Ecosystem’
Home | Team Members | Andrew V. Biankin

Regius Professor of Surgery

Wolfson Wohl Cancer Research Centre

Andrew V. Biankin

Regius Professor of Surgery, University of Glasgow and Director, Wolfson Wohl Cancer Research Centre

Chief Investiagor of the Precision-Panc Platform

Professor Andrew Biankin is a surgeon-scientist and Director of the Wolfson Wohl Cancer Research Centre at the University of Glasgow, where he established the Glasgow Precision Oncology Laboratory in 2016. Professor Biankin is also Chair of the UK-wide Precision-Panc programme of clinical trials for patients with pancreatic cancer. In 2019, Professor Biankin was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to medical research, and to the treatment of pancreatic cancer, as a clinician-scientist.

As a newly qualified surgeon in Sydney, Australia, Dr Biankin’s first experience with pancreatic cancer changed his career path. The patient was a 39-year-old woman who had presented with a small, 1cm pancreatic cancer with no spread to any other organs. The operation went well and under the microscope the prognosis was favourable, yet the cancer recurred rapidly and only 10 months from her initial diagnosis, the patient died.

‘Despite our assessments using the latest scans and world’s best pathologists, we still couldn’t predict pancreatic cancer behaviour, nor could we offer anything other than a general treatment’, said Professor Biankin.

At that point, he approached Professor Rob Sutherland, Director of the Cancer Research Program at Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research to see if he might do PhD in pancreatic cancer research there. The project was an early personalised medicine approach that questioned why patients respond differently to treatment, despite the similarity of the tumours under the microscope.

He finished his PhD at the end of 2002 and published several papers. This led to an invitation to speak at a conference at Johns Hopkins University in the USA, where he was also presented with an award for excellence in translational research and offered a postdoctoral position there.

Dr Biankin returned to Sydney in 2005 to start a pancreatic cancer program at the Garvan. With less common cancers, such as pancreatic cancer, it is very difficult to gather patients in sufficient numbers to run trials, especially in a country like Australia with a low population. Collaboration with other researchers around the country is essential and Dr Biankin established the New South Wales Pancreatic Cancer Network, and then the Australian Pancreatic Cancer Network.

With senior surgeon Dr Neil Merrit, he established a hepatobiliary unit at Bankstown Hospital which grew rapidly, establishing a reputation as a skilled surgical unit for complex cancer surgery, and attracting funded fellows from around Australia and internationally. In 2007, in a move that was to become a signature strategy, Andrew then began integrating this clinical practice with the research he was conducting and developing the precision oncology agenda.

The large collaborative International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) was established at this time and with Professor Sean Grimmond from the Institute for Molecular Bioscience in Queensland, Professor Biankin established the pancreatic cancer arm of the ICGC – the Australian Pancreatic Cancer Genome Initiative (APGI). The APGI went on to map and upload the complete DNA read-outs for around 400 pancreatic cancers to the ICGC project, making it one of the largest sets of genome sequences for any cancer type. This work took pancreatic cancer from one of the least genetically characterised cancers to one of the best.

The capacity to sequence cancer genomes at large scale enabled Professor Biankin and his team to understand much more about the molecular diversity of pancreatic cancers and tumour evolution and much more about what was clinically and translationally relevant.

At that time, Professor Biankin’s mentor Professor Sutherland was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Following his surgery, Professor Biankin’s group sequenced the tumour, began a patient-derived xenograft project where the cells were used to grow the identical tumour in mice, made cell lines from it, and explored every millimetre of it to find the best treatment for him. Professor Sutherland recovered well from his surgery, but then suffered a recurrence, and while potential therapeutics had been identified, he delayed starting treatment due to work commitments and died in 2012.

From this experience, Professor Biankin focused on analytics and the importance of developing a molecular diagnostic/prognostic test that could guide treatment and accelerate the development of new treatments. This work began in the USA, but quickly encountered issues of the reliability, timeliness and cost of existing tests and scalability.

Following his move to Glasgow in 2013 to take up the Directorship of the Wolfson Wohl Cancer Research Centre at the University of Glasgow, Professor Biankin established the Glasgow Precision Oncology Laboratory (GPOL) to develop a molecular test to drive his planned precision oncology clinical trials program for pancreatic cancer – Precision-Panc. This has now become the Glasgow Cancer Test, which is currently being evaluated in the real-world setting of the NHS and will be available from November 2019 from Agilent Technologies.

Professor Biankin is a strong supporter of the concept of ‘learning healthcare systems’ that deliver the kind of large datasets that precision medicine needs to allow researchers to continually refine current treatments and develop new ones.

‘Finding the right way for precision medicine to work in healthcare systems is a bit like breaking a wartime code – the stakes are high and time is against us. Breaking the cancer code that connects the cancer genomes to the patient’s treatment is what drives me as a scientist and a doctor.’

© 2023 Precision Panc
Web design by Creatomatic
This site uses cookies.
Read our privacy policy

This site uses cookies for marketing, personalisation, and analysis purposes. You can opt out of this at any time or view our full privacy policy for more information.