New funding for research teams across the UK offers hope in the battle against pancreatic cancer
National charity Pancreatic Cancer UK has today [Tuesday 16 September 2014] announced the award of seven individual research grants through its second annual round of Research Innovation Fund (RIF) grants, amounting to £0.5m.
The backbone of the Research Innovation Fund is to encourage cutting-edge ideas and novel approaches, including repurposing those that have already proved successful in other areas of cancer but which also display credible potential for the treatment and early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
The announcement comes in the “run-up” to Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month (November), a national campaign to help raise the profile of this often neglected disease in terms of research investment, identification of key symptoms and diagnosis.
Pancreatic Cancer UK believes its ongoing support of pioneering, individual research grants (up to £75,000 for each grant) will make a significant difference in a disease area where little progress has been made in the last 40 years. Pancreatic cancer is still the 5th most common cause of cancer deaths in the UK yet receives only 1% of the total research spend. The disease has one of the worst survival rates of any cancer in the UK, with 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. The grants were awarded to researchers based at institutions throughout the UK in Oxford, Liverpool, Nottingham, Manchester, Liverpool, London and Surrey and fall into three, distinct areas of research: early diagnosis; personalised treatment; making cancer vulnerable to attack.
The grant recipients and their collaborators are experts in a wide variety of disciplines including molecular and cellular biology, stem cell research, immunology, surgical oncology and personalised cancer therapies.
Alex Ford, CEO of Pancreatic Cancer UK, comments; “We are delighted to be announcing our second round of Research Innovation Fund grants. After our successful and inspiring launch last year, our Scientific Advisory Board was hugely encouraged to see another excellent response from the research community. Once again, we are confident that the seven new projects we are funding have potential to make an important contribution to the fight against this disease.”
Ms Ford adds; “Our initial challenge was to stimulate interest amongst researchers and to attract skilled and specialist individuals with a shared vision of overcoming the hurdles often presented in pancreatic cancer research. We believe that new and innovative research is essential to underpin success in seeing a dramatic increase in survival rates. We’re extremely excited to be working with these new researchers and look forward to seeing the results develop.”
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.
To find out more about the fund, visit our Research Innovation Fund pages.
Dr Rachel Joynes has recently joined Pancreatic Cancer UK in a newly created role of Head of Research. Rachel joins from the NHS where she was a research development manager specialising in UK and EU grant applications and research management.