Researcher wins grant to boost pancreatic survival rates

16 November 2017

Australia's leading pancreatic cancer researchers are working to double the number of people who survive the disease by 2020.

2017 Avner Foundation Innovation Grant recipient Dr Zaklina Kovacevic


University of Sydney researcher Dr Zaklina Kovacevic has won a $100,000 Innovation Grant from the Avner Pancreatic Cancer Foundation (APCF) to continue her work on slowing the growth of pancreatic cancers and reduce their therapeutic resistance.

Avner Pancreatic Cancer Foundation has provided funding grants to Australia’s leading pancreatic cancer researchers who are working to double the number of people who survive this disease by 2020. The current five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer is eight percent compared with prostate and breast cancer, that have a five-year survival rate of more than 90 percent.

Dr Kovacevic, a Pathology researcher from Sydney Medical School, will examine a novel drug in clinical trials that boosts NDRG1 – a suppressor gene that slows the spread of cancer to different areas of the body.

“I am extremely grateful for being awarded this funding, which will be crucial in expanding our knowledge about how the surrounding stroma promotes pancreatic cancer progression and will aid in the development of novel treatment strategies that can inhibit this process.

“I am excited to see where this important work will lead us and hope that it will culminate in important breakthroughs and the development of more effective treatments for pancreatic cancer," she said.

The APCF Innovation Grants are designed to support established scientists and early career researchers to develop preliminary data that allows additional funding to be sourced in subsequent years, as well as encourage and retain talented, skilled individuals in the field of pancreatic cancer.

Chairman of the Avner Pancreatic Cancer Foundation, Alan McArthur, said the grants awarded are an important step in breaking through more than 40 years of no progress in solving the very low survival rates of pancreatic cancer.

“These grants awarded to world-leading researchers provide pancreatic cancer patients, their families and the community with hope that we are unlocking the answers to this hideous problem,” said Mr McArthur.

The Avner Pancreatic Cancer Foundation announced its 2017 grant recipients at a dinner on 15 November that brought together leaders from 18 pancreatic cancer research projects and corporate sponsors.

Kobi Print

Media and PR Adviser (Health)

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