It’s time to shine a spotlight on pancreatic cancer – and we’re making it happen

If you are reading this you are probably all too aware of the shocking statistics around pancreatic cancer survival – 1 in 4 people die within a month of diagnosis; 3 in 4 within a year.

There’s no denying that this is just not good enough. The simple truth is that if we were able to diagnose pancreatic cancer earlier, many more people would have a chance of survival. But there is a long history of research underfunding and neglect. What are we doing about this? Well, I am glad you asked.

I’m proud to say that early diagnosis always has and always will be a priority for us at Pancreatic Cancer UK – as we know that this is a top priority for patients, carers and our supporters.

We’re committed to funding pioneering research into early diagnosis, as we know that breakthroughs in diagnosis represent our best chance at changing the odds around pancreatic cancer survival as fast as possible. We are also committed to campaigning for the investment and support that is needed from others – we work with government and other research organisations, to help deliver the breakthroughs we all need.

In 2018, we created the Pancreatic Cancer UK Early Diagnosis Research Alliance – to revolutionise the diagnosis of pancreatic here and now, not decades in the future. The Alliance has brought together over 40 researchers working on the early detection of pancreatic cancer, providing them with the funding to collaborate which has led them to be on the cusp of developing the first simple test for pancreatic cancer. Our goal is to achieve this by 2024.

But in the area of early diagnosis, there will always be more to do and we know we can’t change the statistics quickly enough on our own. Through committed collaboration with equally dedicated and world-leading research organisations, we can drive change faster and make an even bigger difference to people affected by pancreatic cancer.

That’s why I’m thrilled to announce that we’re making another exciting commitment to supporting pancreatic cancer early diagnosis research, bringing together the best minds in research for an innovative workshop in partnership with Cancer Research UK and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). We are very excited!

We will be bringing together researchers who may not otherwise consider focussing on pancreatic cancer (researchers from other cancer types or fields of research like engineering or mathematics) together with researchers who have extensive knowledge in pancreatic cancer. This combination of new perspective and knowledge with specialist pancreatic cancer expertise will further enable genuine and much needed innovation.

We will be hosting a series of dynamic workshops delivered over three days that encourage the scientists and experts to collaborate and challenge one another in order to identify solutions that are truly innovative ways of tackling challenges in pancreatic cancer diagnosis.

Of course, it’s only thanks to the continued generosity of our fantastic supporters that we are able to deliver these initiatives and fund the world-leading research that pancreatic cancer deserves – together, we have the opportunity to transform the future for people with pancreatic cancer.

Chris Macdonald, Head of Research at Pancreatic Cancer UK

If you’re a researcher and interested in getting involved in the these workshops, find out more on our Sandpit Innovation Workshop web page.