The translational research conducted by Shounak Majumder, M.D., focuses on discovering and validating molecular biomarkers for early detection of pancreatic cancer. Dr. Majumder's research goal is focused on developing a blood-based liquid biopsy test for early detection of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) in different risk groups.
In preliminary studies, Dr. Majumder's research group has discovered novel methylated DNA markers (MDMs) in pancreatic tissue that are highly associated with PDAC in both sporadic and mutation-positive cases. His laboratory team has also developed MDMs that, when assayed in pancreatic juice and cyst fluid, accurately detect advanced dysplasia and cancer. Prospective clinical trials to validate early results for these biomarkers are currently underway. He is also leading a team of researchers developing artificial intelligence (AI)-based tools for early detection of pancreatic cancer.
- Pancreatic cancer detection using circulating tumor markers (PREDICT). The primary aim in this study is to develop and validate a prediction algorithm for detection of PDAC using a novel blood-based biomarker assay. Building on results of previous tissue and pilot plasma testing, Dr. Majumder and colleagues are testing a panel of candidate plasma MDMs alone and in combination with CA 19-9 in patients with PDAC and age- and sex-matched control patients without PDAC.
- Molecular detection of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (pNETs) using MDMs. Dr. Majumder aims to identify and validate discriminant MDM candidates in pancreatic tissue that differentiate patients with pNETs from controls with normal pancreases. A select group of candidate tissue markers will subsequently be explored for plasma testing.
- Detection of high-grade dysplasia (HGD) and cancer in pancreatic cysts through assay of novel MDMs from blood. Current clinical algorithms to detect advanced neoplasia in pancreatic cysts lack diagnostic accuracy, often resulting in unnecessary surgery. In a case-control study, Dr. Majumder aims to assess the detection accuracy of advanced neoplasia in pancreatic cysts through assay of novel MDMs in cyst cases (HGD or adenocarcinoma) and cyst controls (low-grade or no dysplasia).
- Molecular detection of advanced neoplasia in pancreatic cysts (IN-CYST). This study aims to prospectively collect blood, stool and cyst fluid from patients with worrisome or high-risk pancreatic cysts who have increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer. The primary aim is to validate a panel of biomarkers in cyst fluid obtained from patients with pancreatic cysts to identify those with HGD and cancer and those at high risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
- Machine learning for accurate identification of individuals at high risk of pancreatic cancer. Individuals at high risk of pancreatic cancer may benefit from screening for early detection, but best approaches to identifying high-risk individuals and modalities of screening need to be better defined. In this study, Dr. Majumder and colleagues aim to develop and implement natural language processing algorithms that accurately identify individuals at high risk of PDAC based on clinical note text and laboratory values in the electronic medical record.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Majumder's goal of discovery and validation of molecular biomarkers for early detection of pancreatic cancer will result in better outcomes for patients. Earlier detection of pancreatic cancer results in more effective treatment and better survival rates. Dr. Majumder also leads the Pancreas Clinic at Mayo Clinic, a highly specialized clinic for pancreatic surveillance in individuals with a high risk of pancreatic cancer.
- Recipient, Transform the Practice Award, Mayo Clinic, 2020-2021
- Editorial board member, Pancreas, 2019-present
- Member, American Pancreatic Association, 2014-present
- Member, American College of Gastroenterology, 2012-present
- Member, American Gastroenterology Association, 2011-present
- Recipient, Career Enhancement Award, Mayo Clinic Pancreatic Cancer SPORE, 2018
- Recipient, Pilot and Feasibility Award, Center for Cell Signaling in Gastroenterology, 2018
- Named, Mayo Clinic Scholar, 2017-2018
- Recipient, J. Arnold Bargen Research Award, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic, 2017
- Recipient, William H. J. Summerskill Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research, Department of Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic, 2017
- Recipient, John Bolan, M.D. Award for Excellence in Ambulatory Care, University of Connecticut, 2013
- Recipient, Ralph F. Reinfrank, M.D. Award for Excellence in Teaching, University of Connecticut, 2013
- Recipient, Intern of the Year Award, University of Connecticut, 2011