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£0.5 million funding for pancreatic cancer research awarded

Posted by: Research 7 May 2013

National charity Pancreatic Cancer UK has today announced the award of seven grants, amounting to nearly £0.5 million, as part of the first round of its Research Innovation Fund.

The intention of the Research Innovation Fund is to spur creative and cutting edge ideas and approaches, including those successful in other areas of cancer, that have justifiable promise for the biology, treatment and diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.

It is envisioned the fund will make a real difference in an area where little has been made in the last forty years. Pancreatic cancer is the 5th most common cause of cancer deaths in the UK yet receives only 1% of the total research spend[1]. The disease has one of the worst survival rates of any cancer in the UK, with only under 4% of patients surviving five years or more.

Grants were approved by Pancreatic Cancer UK's Scientific Advisory Board which has membership drawn from leading scientists from across the world, and were awarded to individuals hosted at institutions throughout the UK in Birmingham, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Leicester, Edinburgh and Cardiff. The grant recipients and their collaborators are experts in a wide variety of disciplines including molecular and cellular biology, immunology, molecular physics and surgical oncology.

The lead researchers, each awarded a grant of up to £75,000 for one-year, are:

  • Prof Roy Bicknell (University of Birmingham)
  • Prof Kenneth Fearon (University of Edinburgh)
  • Dr William Greenhalf and Dr Eithne Costello (University of Liverpool)
  • Dr Catherine Hogan (European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute, Cardiff University)
  • Dr John Maher (King's College London)
  • Dr Andrew Renehan (University of Manchester)
  • Prof Jacqueline Shaw (University of Leicester)

Clara Mackay, acting chief executive officer of Pancreatic Cancer UK, comments, "We  purposely launched our Research Innovation Fund to generate ideas for cutting-edge research into pancreatic cancer. We are delighted with the response from the research community and are confident that the seven new projects we are funding have potential to make an important contribution to the fight against this disease."

Peter O'Hare, Chair of Pancreatic Cancer UK's Scientific Advisory Board, comments, "We set out to stimulate interest within the research community and encourage researchers to look at the huge challenges presented by pancreatic cancer in new ways; drawing on the excellent work that has already been done in this area as well as other areas of cancer research. We received a large number of high quality applications which will only bode well for future rounds of this fund."

The process behind this Pancreatic Cancer UK initiative and the research proposals received reflect strong collaborative working at many levels and provide a springboard for further expansion of pancreatic research in the future.

Pancreatic Cancer UK intend to launch the second round of the Research Innovation Fund in September/October 2013. The application process for this scheme is administered by Cancer Research UK.  

Find out more about the Research Innovation Fund

[1] Research spend of the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) - representing the majority of cancer research investment undertaken in the UK