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PancREatic Cancer: Individualised Supervised Exercise study

Recipient: Dr Gillian PrueGillian Prue

Host Institution: Queen’s University Belfast

Title: PRECISE: PancREatic Cancer: Individualised Supervised Exercise: a feasibility study

Type of award: 2019 Research Innovation Fund project

Status: Live

Funding: £107,975

Surgery is the only known cure for pancreatic cancer. However, it is an extensive and traumatic procedure. The surgery itself can take up to 12 hours, in an area of the body that is highly perfused with blood vessels and ultimately removes whole sections of the gastro-intestinal system. Even after a patient going through all that, surgery is then followed by chemotherapy. This makes for a huge side effect burden (pain, fatigue, weight loss, bowel issues, nausea) and significantly impacts on recovery and prognosis. To be able to mitigate any of these effects would make these interventions more tolerable, improving the patients’ quality of life as well as their overall prognosis.

The team in Belfast, will build on previous effective studies in breast, prostate and colorectal cancer, to test a bespoke exercise programme for people with pancreatic cancer who have undergone surgery and receiving chemotherapy. It sounds counterintuitive but exercising during cancer treatment can help manage many of the common symptoms such as pain, fatigue and anxiety. The team will work extensively with people affected by pancreatic cancer to design bespoke exercise programs that are tailored and sensitive to their specific side effects. This is a feasibility study that will test this approach in a small number of people. They will evaluate the data from this initial testing and then further develop and enhance the approach to be taken on a larger trial.

Thousands of people are affected by pancreatic cancer right now. It is therefore vital that as well as seeking much needed breakthroughs in developing new treatments that we also fund innovative work that can help patients by making the treatments that are currently available as effective and sensitive as possible in the short term. This exciting study has the promise of giving people undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer a better quality of life, improved recovery and longer life.