Research Award Announcement

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Pancreatic Cancer Action announces their 2017 research award recipients: Kings College, London School of Medicine, and University of Strathclyde.  

Pancreatic Cancer Action, a charity that aims to improve the dire survival rates of pancreatic cancer, announced today the three 2017 recipients of its Early Diagnosis Challenge Award (EDCA). The EDCA awards provide annual seed-funding grants to researchers who wish to investigate promising approaches to improving early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.     

At just five per cent, the UK pancreatic cancer survival rates are the lowest survival rates of all 22 common cancers.  Improving early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is vital to ensure that more patients are diagnosed in time for surgery, which is currently the only potential for a cure, and survival rates improve.   

The three successful research award recipients are:  

Dr Mieke van Hemelrijck, King’s College London, Pancreatic Cancer Action research award recipient

Dr Mieke van Hemelrijck, King’s College London, will be investigating the role of the immune system, if any, in the development of pancreatic cancer, and whether that information can be used as a screening test for pancreatic cancer.  

Professor Claude Chelala, Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London, Pancreatic Cancer Action research award recipient

Professor Claude Chelala, Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London, will be tracking how pancreatic cancer develops in the body using sequential non-invasive liquid biopsies (DNA in the blood stream that has been shed by tumours). Professor Chelala hopes that she will be able to use the data from this study to better predict and then screen for pancreatic cancer. 

Dr Matthew Baker from the University of Strathclyde, Pancreatic Cancer Action research award recipient

Dr Matthew Baker from the University of Strathclyde will be investigating Rapid Serum Spectroscopy as part of his early diagnosis research project. Spectroscopy is a method used by scientists to detect very small amounts of an element by the light emitted from a prism. Dr Baker is investigating whether a spectroscopic approach can be used for rapid analysis and detection of pancreatic cancer. 

Every day, 26 people are newly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the UK and sadly most will die within a year.  Despite the poor prognosis, pancreatic cancer research receives dramatically low funding at just 3% of cancer research funding.  
“This is an incredibly talented and diverse group of researchers who will advance pancreatic cancer research in the UK,” said Ali Stunt, founder and chief executive of Pancreatic Cancer Action. “We desperately need a breakthrough for 
this disease, which can only occur through the work of outstanding and well-resourced scientists.” 

Obtaining research funding from the government for pancreatic cancer can be particularly hard for pancreatic cancer as there is a sense of futility surrounding the disease. It is our hope that successful results from our researchers will lead the way to greater funding,” continues Ali.  “We are very much looking forward to finding out what our successful applicants will discover.”   

Pancreatic Cancer Action is a charity founded by Ali Stunt who is now a ten-year survivor of the disease (only one per cent of people with the disease will reach this milestone). The charity seeks to save lives through earlier diagnosis of the disease. It does this by symptoms awareness campaigns, providing patient information, medical education, political campaigning and investing in research.  

For more information on Pancreatic Cancer Action’s research strategy, please visit