Only half of those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer will survive the first six months. By five years, the survival rate
is only 5 percent. -- QIMR Berghofer researcher Dr Nicole Cloonan


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Christine’s Story

Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January 2013, Christine showed enormous strength and approached her cancer journey with remarkable optimism. It is with great sadness that we now update you on some recent news. Christine lost her battle to pancreatic cancer just recently in March this year.

Christine and husband Sam“You’ve got to play the cards that you’re dealt. You can’t pick and choose. If this is my future, my time, then I’m not frightened of that.”

It was Christine’s hope that her story will see more money raised and invested in pancreatic cancer research so that the next generation, including her three grown-up sons and seven grandchildren, will not have to face this deadly cancer without hope.

Christine approached her cancer in a remarkably positive way: “The way I see it, I have two bad days a week (for my chemo) and five good days. That’s more good than bad.”

Having a strong support network was very important and along with her family Christine always paid credit to her close friends for giving her strength.

The way I see it,
I have two bad days
 and five good days.
That’s more good than bad.

“It’s hard to explain the closeness we have. You know you can ring them if you’re having a bad day, and they will be there for you. If it’s something they can’t help with, they find someone who can”.

Just like a special friendship, medical research takes time and commitment. But the eventual breakthroughs make all the hard work and patience worthwhile.

In February this year, QIMR Berghofer sent special “friendship cards” to our supporters to encourage everyone to honour their own special friends. This was always very important to Christine.

We received a heartfelt response of cards which we placed on our Wall of Appreciation.

Thank you to each and every supporter for returning your special friendship cards and sending your generous donations. Your contributions are greatly appreciated and honour Christine’s legacy in a very special way.

Please be generous and invest in research today that could help save lives tomorrow.

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The facts

Pancreatic cancer - the facts

See the infographic

In Australia, 2,000 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer every year, of those diagnosed only half will survive the first six months.

“By the time pancreatic cancer is diagnosed, it has often spread to nearby organs and lymph nodes. This makes trialing the effectiveness of different treatments very challenging. Often by the time a treatment has been proven ineffective, the patient has already lost their battle,” says Dr Nicole Cloonan, QIMR Berghofer.

The research

QIMR Berghofer researcher, Dr Nicole Cloonan, believes the future will be brighter for pancreatic cancer patients - if we continue to invest in research.

She explains: “While many other cancers have improved, the odds of surviving pancreatic cancer haven’t changed in 40 years. It’s why investing in pancreatic cancer research is essential.”

The right treatment may already exist.
We just need the funding for research...

Her current research into a molecule known as microRNA aims to explore whether treatments that have proven to be effective in other cancer forms, can be effective for pancreatic cancer patients.

Found in all plants and animals, microRNAs regulate gene expression and play a vital part in influencing the pathways responsible for many disease processes.

Researchers have been aware for 20 years that microRNAs exist and other cancer treatments have been developed using this knowledge, but Dr Cloonan is particularly interested in understanding how to exploit this discovery to target pancreatic cancer.

She explains: “What works for one cancer patient may not be effective for another patient, because the cancer itself is different. And, because pancreatic cancer spreads so quickly, we don’t have the time to trial a range of different treatments with the patient.”

“The right treatment may already exist. We just need the funding for research into the effectiveness of these treatments for pancreatic cancer.”

Your investment today will ensure Dr Cloonan and the research team here at QIMR Berghofer are well supported in their dedication to searching for more effective treatments against pancreatic cancer and other aggressive and life threatening diseases.

Please be generous.


Donate now