New fellowship to help fight pancreatic cancer

Garvan Research Foundation announces Pancreatic Cancer Research Fellowship

Mr Andrew Giles, The Hon Sussan Ley MP, Mr Len Ainsworth and Dr Paul Timpson.

Media Release: 16 November 2015

A major new philanthropic gift to the Garvan Institute of Medical Research will enable Australia’s world-class researchers to continue to fight against pancreatic cancer.

Announced by the Minister for Health, the Hon Sussan Ley MP, at an event at Parliament House, the Fellowship has been set-up following a $1.5 million donation to the Garvan Research Foundation made by Mr Len Ainsworth, Founder of Aristocrat Leisure and current Chairman of Ainsworth Game Technology.

“Pancreatic cancers are the fifth most common cause of cancer-related deaths in Australia[i], causing around 2,500 deaths a yeari. Garvan is dedicated to improving outcomes for pancreatic cancer patients and their families and this Fellowship will allow us to advance our understanding of this deadly disease and help translate research into actual outcomes for patients," said Garvan Research Foundation CEO, Andrew Giles.

Garvan recently became one of the first in the world to acquire technology that can sequence a whole genome at a base cost of around US$1,000.

“This gives the pancreatic cancer research teams here at Garvan unparalleled ability to undertake whole genome sequencing on pancreatic tumours, helping to inform research that will lead to better prevention and safer, more effective personalised therapies,” said Mr Giles.

Recipient of the inaugural Fellowship, Dr Paul Timpson of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, said the Fellowship will allow his research team to better understand the disease in the context of the surrounding environment.

“Using cutting edge in vitro and in vivo imaging technology that can pinpoint the drivers of cancer progression, we are hoping to better understand the environmental factors that impair drug delivery,” said Dr Timpson.

“The treatment and survival of patients with pancreatic cancer has not changed for over thirty years because there has been little research into the molecular and cell biology associated with it.

“The work of Dr Timpson and his team of researchers at Garvan, is helping us to further understand a disease that has stumped researchers in the past, with the goal of bringing unprecedented new insights into the molecular biology of pancreatic cancer, and helping promote research in development of new cancer treatments that are tailored towards individual patients,” said Minister Ley.

Garvan is one of the leading institutes internationally in the development and application of new genomic technologies to understand human disease and its prevention and treatment. The Garvan Research Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Research Fellowship demonstrates this leadership and commitment to finding the answers to some of the most common, yet complex diseases to treat.

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[i] Pancreatic Cancer in Australia. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare: viewed on the 5th of November 2015.

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