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Moncton researchers receive funding for pancreatic cancer research

31 October 2014

New Brunswick -

The Canadian Cancer Society, in partnership with the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation and Craig’s Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society, has announced a grant of $197,500 to support New Brunswick cancer research scientists exploring the development of a blood test to detect pancreatic cancer at an early stage.

“The survival rate for pancreatic cancer is only eight percent, so finding a way to detect it earlier could significantly improve outcomes for many patients,” said Anne McTiernan-Gamble, CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society New Brunswick. “We’re extremely pleased to partner with Craig’s Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society and the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation in funding this exciting research, led by Drs. Stephen Lewis, Rodney Ouellette and Anirban Ghosh."

Pancreatic cancer in the fourth most common cause of cancer death in Canada for males and females, and is largely considered an under-funded and hard-to-treat cancer. The Canadian Cancer Society is committed to doubling the five-year survival rates for pancreatic and other hard-to-treat cancers, including lung, ovarian, throat, brain and colorectal. Thanks to a recent partnership between the Canadian Cancer Society, Craig’s Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society and now the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation, more than $1.4 million will be invested into pancreatic cancer research across Canada.

"The support of the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation for this nationally peer-reviewed research project aligns with one of the selected priorities of our five-year strategic plan, specifically, health research in oncology," pointed out CEO, Dr. Bruno Battistini. "We recognize that the fight against cancers, such as pancreatic, must be fought by joining forces with partners such as the Canadian Cancer Society and the Craig’s Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society," he added.

Drs. Lewis, Ouellette and Ghosh and their research team based at the Atlantic Cancer Research Institute (ACRI) have developed a technique for capturing packets of information, called extracellular microvesicles, which are found in blood. They plan to identify clues (biomarkers) present in these microvesicles from patients that accurately indicate pancreatic cancer is present. This could lead to a new, easy way to detect pancreatic cancer early, especially for people at high risk for the disease. Their grant is funded through the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute’s Innovation Grants program, which supports unconventional concepts or approaches in cancer research.

“We are extremely pleased that this generous funding from the Canadian Cancer Society, the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation and Craig’s Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society will allow us to apply our novel research tools and innovative ideas to the development of better detection and diagnostic techniques for pancreatic cancer in high-risk populations,” said Dr. Stephen Lewis, Assistant Scientific Director at ACRI. “The receipt of this funding demonstrates significant support for our efforts to develop the next generation of minimally-invasive tests for deadly cancers, like pancreatic cancer.”

Craig’s Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society is a national charity whose aim is to increase awareness, education, support and research funding for pancreatic cancer. It raises money primarily through donations and signature events such as the Maritime Bike Tours, Pedal for the Pancreas and Provincial Pancreatic Awareness Walks, which take place from September through to November in five provinces, including Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Alberta. All funds raised from the walks will be matched by the Canadian Cancer Society and the QEII Foundation in Nova Scotia.

“Craig’s Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society is thrilled to be working collaboratively with the Canadian Cancer Society,” said Stefanie Condon-Oldreive, founder of Craig’s Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society. “Collaborations such as these will bring much-needed awareness, education and research funds to an underfunded cancer. Additionally, we need to extend these partnerships into communities across Canada, where grassroots events such as our Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Walks bring people together who have been touched by this devastating disease and offer hope and support. One hundred percent of donations raised through these walks will fund research, awareness, education and support throughout Canada.”

New Brunswick’s walk is scheduled for November 1, 2014 at the University of New Brunswick. The event begins at 9 a.m.

The Canadian Cancer Society funds the best cancer research in Canada thanks to our generous donors and our gold standard peer-review process. We are the largest national charitable funder of cancer research in Canada, funding hundreds of researchers in universities, hospitals and research centres. Together we are discovering new ways to change cancer forever. For more information, visit cancer.ca or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1-888-3333 (TTY 1-866-786-3934).

For more information, please contact:

Paula White

Manager, Communications, CCSNB

Phone: (506) 634-6040