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Canadian Pancreatic Cancer Research Strategy

Pancreatic Cancer Canada (PCC) is working to develop a research strategy for pancreatic cancer in Canada. As researchers continue to work on improving outcomes for pancreatic cancer patients, we are well aware of the discouraging survival rate for those diagnosed. Only 8% of patients survive for 5 years or more and this statistic has not changed significantly over the last 40 years. PCC wants to bring researchers together to address this concern and develop mechanisms to make progress on patient outcomes.

Prior to embarking on this initiative, a representative of PCC conducted a series of outreach interviews with a small but influential group of leaders in cancer research and cancer control to explore the interest and appetite in collaborating to accelerate progress in pancreatic cancer research. The findings of this outreach exercise were positive and confirmed that PCC was not alone in its concerns or its aspirations to change the dismal prospects for pancreatic cancer patients and to drive the research that would enable those improvements.

PCC also discovered that there is a strong desire to collaborate to this end. The timing appears right to undertake a structured and facilitated process to create scientific consensus on priorities and future directions for pancreatic cancer research in Canada. The process will create a strategy for collaboration and a resource and tool to assist organizations like PCC in raising more donor dollars.

On October 22, Pancreatic Cancer Canada convened the inaugural session of a Steering Committee created to provide direction and oversight to the development of a pancreatic cancer research strategy for Canada.  The assembled group included a cross-section of cancer researchers from different scientific disciplines, research administrators, research funders, patient advocates and clinicians.  

The objectives of this meeting was to: 

  • Clarify the rationale and articulate a vision for the pancreatic cancer research framework 
  • Initiate the planning process, energize and mobilize participants
  • Explore important trends in science, scientific capacity and the greater research environment that are relevant to creating a research agenda for pancreatic cancer 
  • Provide input into and approve Steering Committee Terms of Reference
  • Provide input into a formal Statement of Work
  • Plan for the Workshop
  • Establish some simple procedures and/or identify tools to ensure the group works together efficiently and effectively

Subsequent meetings have been held in 2015. The high-level vision that has emerged is beyond that of a research framework. The Steering Committee articulated the need for an intellectual framework to provide direction to pancreatic cancer research but also the need for collaborative and coordinated efforts to address gaps in research capacity and fund the most promising scientific directions identified in the framework. 

In addition, the group saw the value of a research network to facilitate the implementation of the strategy and this strategy represents an opportunity for Canada to take a leadership role in pancreatic cancer research.

Canadian Pancreatic Cancer Research Strategy Development Steering Committee

Dr. Dan Renouf, (Co-Chair)  
BC Cancer Agency
Dr. Rachel Goodwin, (Co-Chair) 
The Ottawa Hospital
Dr. Steven Gallinger,
Ontario Institute for Cancer Research
Dr. Jon Hooper,
The Ottawa Hospital
Dr. Malcolm Moore,
University Health Network, Toronto
Dr. Nicole Mittmann,
Sunnybrook Hospital
Dr. Janet Dancey,
National Cancer Institute of Canada – Clinical Trials Group
Dr. Donna Turner,
Cancer Care Manitoba
Dr. Sian Bevan,
Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute
Dr. George Zogopoulos,
Goodman Cancer Research Centre,
McGill University
Dr. Carman Giacomantonio,
Cancer Care Nova Scotia
Dr. David Schaeffer,
University of British Columbia
Dr. David Huntsman,
BC Cancer Agency

Dr. Robin Harkness,
Canadian Cancer Research Alliance

Dr. Stephen Robbins,
University of Calgary and Chair,
CIHR Cancer Institute

Laurie Ellies, Pancreatic Cancer Canada

Michelle Capobianco, Pancreatic Cancer Canada



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