Cash boost for pancreatic cancer research
31 October 2014
Pancreatic cancer Charity Amser Justin Time, founded in 2008 by Welsh TV and Radio personality Shân Cothi has made a landmark donation in the fight against Pancreatic Cancer.
The donation of £102,263.00 will be paid over a period of two years to fund the work of a pancreatic cancer research associate at the European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute.
Shân Cothisaid of the donation:"It's a privilege to be able to donate a six figure sum in Justin's name to further the research into pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer has one of the lowest survival rates as a result of underfunding and lack of research. Hopefully our donation will make a difference."
Shân lost her husband to pancreatic cancer in 2007 and as a result of her loss and her passion to fight the disease, she set up the charity in his name ('Amser' = 'Time' in Welsh).
Shân continued "We have been trying to identify a project aimed specifically at pancreatic cancer for some time and were thrilled when the opportunity arose to work in partnership with Cardiff University. It's the lack of pancreatic cancer research and development that inspired the birth of Amser Justin Time."
The Amser Justin Time donation is the largest donation received by the Institute, specifically for research into pancreatic cancer. One hundred percent of the money will be donated to the European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute. The funding boost will contribute to securing the future of this fundamental research by further funding the work of pancreatic cancer research associate Dr Sean Porazinski, who works under Research Fellow Dr Catherine Hogan.
Dr Hogan said: "Dr Porazinski's previous funding arrangement was coming to an end when we received the donation from Amser Justin Time, so it was very timely. Dr Porazinski has spent the last year establishing a new experimental system in the lab in order to study early pancreatic cancer. This donation allows us to extend Dr Porazinski's contract and build on his recent work to develop this project further. We hope that this work will make a significant contribution to our understanding of how pancreatic cancer starts, which in turn may lead to new diagnostic tools."
The European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute houses over 50 scientists – all with a common goal and belief – that cancer stem cells are responsible for the regrowth and spread of cancerous tumours. Their research is built around the idea that if you target the cancer stem cell specifically, then there is a better chance of stopping the cancer.
"Of course, it is not quite as simple as that," said Professor Alan Clarke, Director of the European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute. "We have found that cancer stem cells have the ability to change and develop into other types of cells, so work is continuing on a more holistic approach with ten different research teams focusing in on different cancers from breast and bowel to those of the brain and the blood."
Professor Clarke continued: "Pancreatic cancer currently has one of the lowest five-year survival rates in Europe. It is incredibly difficult to diagnose until it is almost too late for the patient. We are determined to help change this and we rely on donations such as those from Amser Justin Time. It is an honour to receive this substantial donation, especially from a charity local to the institute."
Recipient of the donation, Dr Porazinski, is delighted to be able to continue his research at the Institute, thanks to the additional funding provided by Amser Justin Time. "As one of the most aggressive forms of the disease, working with pancreatic cancer is a great challenge and one I'm thrilled to be able to continue with here in Cardiff. Ultimately, our aim is to contribute to establishing much earlier diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and to look for ways to develop new therapies to directly benefit patients with this condition."
Shân gave a special message to the supporters of Amser Justin Time: "I cannot thank you enough and without your help, support and encouragement over the last six years none of this would have been possible. Our journey continues and I hope your support will remain with us. Therefore, please keep running those marathons, riding those horses and climbing those big mountains, together we can make a difference!"
Shân continued: "On behalf of all at Amser Justin Time and those that have given so generously I wish Dr Sean Porazinski and Dr Hogan all the very best with their work and we look forward to learning more about the progression of the pioneering stem cell cancer research."