News: Launch of the Australian Pancreatic Cancer Matrix Atlas (APMA)

Thomas R. Cox, Jun 2020

Australian Pancreatic Cancer Matrix Atlas (APMA) as a national and international portal for pancreatic cancer and matrix biology research

We are delighted to announce the launch of our Avner Australian Pancreatic Cancer Matrix Atlas (APMA) as a national and international portal for pancreatic cancer and matrix biology research.

About APMA

Desmoplasia (fibrosis) is a key hallmark of pancreatic cancer, which can be targeted in concert with tumour cell-centric therapies. The overarching goal of APMA is to facilitate the translation of stromal-centric therapy as a mainstay in our emerging multimodal armoury against pancreatic cancer.

APMA is a collaborative effort by researchers at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and The Kinghorn Cancer Centre in Sydney, working closely with clinical teams at Royal North Shore Hospital.

Committee Members

Prof. Paul Timpson, A/Prof. Thomas Cox, A/Prof. Marina Pajic, Prof. Anthony Gill, Dr. Brooke Pereira, Dr. David Herrmann, Prof. Jas Samra, Amber Johns, Gloria Jeong.

Vision and goals

APMA’s aim is to better understand how the dynamic extracellular matrix landscape is linked to alterations in drug response and patient survival in pancreatic cancer. By mapping the histological, immunohistochemical, and proteomic differences between normal pancreatic tissue and matched pancreatic cancer samples we aim to define which matrix elements are deregulated in this disease and reveal new targets.

Detailed comprehensive mapping of the topology and 3D structure of the matrix in native pancreatic tissue and pancreatic cancer, in correlation with clinicopathological and genetic sequencing data, has not been possible until now. The Garvan Institute of Medical Research, working with the Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH) here in Australia are perfectly placed to achieve this, thereby establishing the first national and international comprehensive human pancreatic cancer matrix database.

APMA is positioned to become an international resource held in Australia for pancreatic cancer matrix targeting, creating a portal for matrix biology researchers and clinicians to interrogate and query disease progression, outcome, survival and relapse in the context of matrix composition and 3D matrix topology. APMA integrates our laboratory based studies of the matrix with clinicopathological data including survival, relapse, and resistance, to identify matrix companion biomarkers and actionable targets that may be diagnostic and/or prognostic.

Contact and further information

Avner Australian Pancreatic Cancer Matrix Atlas (APMA)


This project was made possible by an Avner Pancreatic Cancer Foundation Grant.