Eric’s personal cancer quest

Pictured from left are Suggs from Madness, Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt MP, Eric Ollerenshaw, Alex Ford, CEO of Pancreatic Cancer UK and Jane Ellison the MP for Battersea.
Pictured from left are Suggs from Madness, Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt MP, Eric Ollerenshaw, Alex Ford, CEO of Pancreatic Cancer UK and Jane Ellison the MP for Battersea.

Lancaster MP Eric Ollerenshaw has launched an important new report into pancreatic cancer research following a six month inquiry.

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Pancreatic Cancer, chaired by Mr Ollerenshaw, published the report, Pancreatic Cancer Research: a Roadmap to Change, which calls for a new approach to attracting inspiring scientists into this field and sets out a series of compelling recommendations aimed at improving the quality and quantity of pancreatic cancer research.

Although the UK boasts a number of world class researchers, facilities and (through the NHS) offers a huge cohort of patients and patient data, the findings of the inquiry highlight the need for swift measures to allow healthy development of a community of researchers and to ensure the network and infrastructure exists to support their work.

The report was launched on the cusp of November’s Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month at an event hosted by the APPG and the group’s secretariat, charity Pancreatic Cancer UK.

Key recommendations from the inquiry include:

* Increase funding from various funding partners over the course of the next decade to £25million

* Focus research activity on early diagnosis – including the future development of screening tools

* National research initiatives that give priority to cancers of “unmet need”

* A simplified process for setting up clinical trials and improving research infrastructure

* Amendments to the NICE drugs approval process

* Greater collaboration among researchers and research institutions

Mr Ollerenshaw said: “The APPG is in no doubt that the kind of change needed to make any impact on the current appalling survival statistics for pancreatic cancer will only be achieved through research: research that will aid early diagnosis and screening; research that will result in more and better treatments; and research that will hopefully offer opportunity for a cure.

“At the moment, we are not seeing enough research into pancreatic cancer. The low level of pancreatic cancer research funding is due in part to a relatively small pancreatic cancer research community, which therefore produces a small number of research applications.

“However, one of the key reasons the pancreatic cancer research community remains small is because of the low level of investment into research.

“This is a vicious circle we must strive to break.”

Alex Ford, chief executive of Pancreatic Cancer UK, said: “We are grateful to Eric and his colleagues on the APPG for their support.

“The key findings in this report underline much of what Pancreatic Cancer UK have long argued: that unless there is significant increase in research funding, it is highly unlikely that the necessary advances needed to beat this disease will be achieved.

“As a charity, we expect to award a total of £1m towards research, through various grants this year.

“So we feel we are playing our part. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg and a much more comprehensive attitude to research is needed on a national scale if we are to start winning the fight against pancreatic cancer as well as speeding up the process of moving new treatments and diagnostic tools from ‘laboratory bench to bedside’.”

The full recommendations can be viewed on pages 4&5 of the report, at http://www.pancreaticcancer.org.uk/media/157567/appg-inquiry-report-2014-pancreatic-cancer-research-a-roadmap-to-change.pdf