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Nicki's Smile contribute a further £125,000 to research

Posted by: Fundraising 13 July 2012

Pancreatic Cancer UK is delighted to announce it is to contribute a further £125,000 from the Nicki's Smile fund to a research study that is aimed at identifying pancreatic cancer earlier.

Nicki's Smile, a fund hosted by Pancreatic Cancer UK, was set up in memory of Nicki Blake, who lost her battle to pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer on the 11th November 2010, aged just 33, leaving behind her devoted husband Dan and three year old son, Joshua.

Niki 's Smile

The study, led by Professor David Tuveson MD, PhD, will include a focus on pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer and has two aims. The first is to create a model that can produce circulating blood proteins similar to CA19-9, which is the main tumour marker used in the clinical management of patients with pancreatic cancer. The second is to use this model to look for novel diagnostic biomarkers. The overall goal is develop these biomarkers as a test for pancreatic cancer detection and treatment monitoring.

The proposal for this research was peer reviewed by our Scientific Advisory Board and has been rated as internationally competitive or higher.

The research will be conducted in collaboration with Professor Martyn Caplin, who was Nicki's consultant. He holds the position of consultant in gastroenterology and hepatobiliary medicine and lead neuroendocrine clinician at the Royal Free hospital in London. This new phase of research will commence in August and will be based at Professor Tuveson's new laboratory at Cold Spring Harbor, New York.

The first part of the work, also funded by Pancreatic Cancer UK and overseen by Professor Tuveson is nearing completion at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute, University of Cambridge.

Alex Ford, Chief Executive, Pancreatic Cancer UK, comments, "I am delighted we have been able to finalise this grant, which is in line with the objectives of the Nicki's Smile fund and provides us with a very effective blueprint for any international grants we award in the future."

Dan Blake, adds, "I am thrilled that Nicki's Smile has been able to fund a pioneering early diagnosis research project. Our aim is to improve the awful pancreatic cancer survival statistics and the key to this is innovative early diagnosis research. I am also delighted that Nicki's consultant, Professor Martyn Caplin, will be involved to provide his invaluable input on neuroendocrine tumours." 

This grant demonstrates Pancreatic Cancer UK's commitment to funding the best quality research across the world. Although Professor Tuveson is based in the US, the results will be of benefit to all patients whether in the UK or elsewhere. This could provide a great step forward in driving early detection and therefore potentially improved prognosis and treatment.

**Find out more about the Nicki's Smile fund.