Pancreatic experts from around the world converge in Cork today to share therapeutic strategies and discuss progress in the treatment of pancreatic cancer at the 7th Southern Symposium on Foregut Cancers in UCC.
Specialists in Epidemiology and Genetics, Radiology, Gastroenterology, Oncology, Radiation Oncology, Surgery and Palliative Care are sharing the most up to date therapies and research findings for the multimodal management of a cancer with one of the lowest survival rates. Over 480 new cases of pancreatic cancer are diagnosed in Ireland each year with survival rates remaining startlingly low: Most patients are diagnosed at late stage, and typically survival is less than a year.
Announced today at the Symposium by conference organiser, Consultant Oncologist Dr. Derek Power, is a new Pancreatic Research Fellowship at Cork Cancer Research Centre in honour of cancer campaigner Charlie Fell who passed away in August of this year. Charlie Fell, an Investment Professional and Irish Times columnist, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2013 and campaigned throughout his illness for more research into pancreatic cancer to improve the outcome for patients. The successful awardee will share his/her research time between Cork Cancer Research Centre, UCC and John Hopkins University.
Prof. Michael Goggins, (Professor of Pathology, Medicine and Oncology and Director of Pancreatic Cancer Early Detection Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University), in Cork to deliver the esteemed Prof. Gerry O’Sullivan Memorial Lecture this year on Genetics of Pancreatic Cancer and its Implications, said about the fellowship, “I am delighted to be involved in this new pancreatic research fellowship and seeing first-hand the amazing work being carried out here in Cork I look forward to making significant progress together on new strategies for early detection and more effective treatment.”
John Fell, brother of Charlie, who is attending the announcement with Charlie’s wife Ann and mother Gemma said “Our family is deeply moved by the announcement of this Research Fellowship which pays tribute to the efforts Charlie made to raise awareness about pancreatic cancer. He campaigned relentlessly until his final days for more research into finding effective treatments for the death sentence that pancreatic cancer currently is. We are delighted to see so many internationally-renowned experts here in Cork today who are working together and concentrating their efforts to accelerate progress in conquering this awful disease. This should bring hope to the patients and their families that pancreatic cancer may ultimately become a treatable disease.”
Also at the meeting, Dr. Declan Soden is presenting the results of work at Cork Cancer Research Centre (CCRC) on a potential new therapeutic regime for Pancreatic Cancer. Scientists at CCRC have developed an innovative immunotherapy treatment for cancers of poor prognosis including pancreatic cancer. “By delivering a short burst of electricity to the tumour we have demonstrated we can spark a robust immune engagement into the cancer. In combination with new next generation immunotherapies (anti-PD1 / ICOS) which boost the immune response we have been able to successfully cure aggressive advanced cancers in in-vivo models. We now plan to bring this into the clinic for patients with late stage cancer.”
Director at Breakthrough Cancer Research Orla Dolan welcomed the announcements stating, “We are thrilled to be involved in funding this new research fellowship in Cork. It will allow us to build on and accelerate the great progress we have been making in partnership with CCRC delivering new treatments for the most clinically challenging cancers.