Investing in the future

"An increase in awareness and investment in research has made such a significant impact in fighting other types of cancer - resulting in saving many lives. That’s what we want for pancreatic cancer patients."

Laurie and Betty

What we're Funding?

Pancreatic cancer is an insidious disease that can strike anyone, at anytime. It remains a major cause of cancer death, with more than a quarter of a million people, including 4,800 Canadians, dying annually from this disease.

While declining mortality rates have been observed for many types of cancers in recent years, the incidence and mortality rates for pancreatic cancer continues to increase and the 5-year survival at 8% remains the only leading cancer killer in the single digits - a grim statistic that has not changed significantly in decades. 

Our HOPE is that pancreatic cancer will no longer be the frightening diagnosis it is today; that patients will have more effective treatment options enabling them to live longer and fulfilling lives. By ‘targeting’ the best and most relevant research in Canada, we move one step closer to this goal.

Through the generosity of our donors, we have been able to invest more than $4 million into innovative research that enables scientists to focus on detection,  new ways to treat patients and ultimately, improve outcomes. Here is an overview of the research:


Current Research Focus

Introducing PancOne™: Pancreatic Oncology Network

Pancreatic Cancer Canada has launched the first multi-disciplinary research partnership between major cancer centres across Canada. PancOne™ is designed to maximize the expertise and unique clinical and research infrastructure already existing to ensure there is no duplication of research.

The first project will study clinically relevant metastatic pancreatic cancer subtypes and has the potential to dramatically impact the clinical management of pancreatic cancer by optimizing individual treatment strategies, and helping to direct new drug development, thereby improving overall pancreatic cancer survival.

The participating centres of excellence are:

  • The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation
  • McGill University Health Centre Foundation
  • Kingston Regional Cancer Centre Institute
  • Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary
  • Pancreas Centre BC

Learn More about PancOne™, a ground-breaking pan-Canadian oncology network that is working together to improve patient outcomes. More than $750,000 to date has been donated to support this important research initiative.

Past Research Funded Initiatives

ResearcherPrincess Margaret Cancer Centre (PMCC) - Toronto, ON

Your generous gift has quickly been put to use to change the outlook of so many individuals dying from pancreatic cancer. The collection of tissue from pancreatic cancer patients is being expanded, enabling researchers to step up the search for biomarkers (indicators of the disease) that can be found in blood or urine. Over  1,000 blood and plasma (the colourless fluid of the blood) samples have been collected in the Ontario Pancreas Cancer Study. This precious resource is shared among scientists around the world in the quest to understand the disease and discover new genetic and protein biomarkers. These new genetic and protein biomarkers will help us develop screening to detect the disease much earlier.

Your gift is also allowing The Princess Margaret to perform additional sophisticated molecular analyses of pancreatic tumours. Currently, we are able to analyze 200 pancreas tumours in our laboratory. Physicians now believe analyzing patients’ tumours is the next major leap forward in cancer treatment. Knowing the genetic mutations that give rise to a tumour means that physicians know much more about a patient’s specific disease and can tailor treatment accordingly, otherwise known as Personalized Cancer Medicine. A more efficient use of resources leads to more patients getting improved treatment and shorter wait times.

PMCC Supported Initiatives

Pancreatic Cancer Screening Study - This project studies the inherited causes of pancreatic cancer. The goal is to identify genes, which can be used to evaluate family members who may be at higher risk for the disease - Dr. Steven Gallinger - Learn more >

MRI Coil - Optimization of the signal strength would allow a tumor to stand out in imaging. A prototype coil was developed to increase the signal from the pancreas and magnify the resolution. Based on initial testing, the signal gain from the prototype coil greatly improved the image quality - Dr. Masoom Haider - Learn more >

researchersReport - New -  Diagnosis and Management of Pancreatic Cancer -  April 2013 by Drs. Steven Gallinger and Zaheer Kanji

5 Year Fellowship - New  - Through a partnership with The Lewitt Family Foundation, PCC has awarded Dr. Natalie Cook with the Wilf G.Lewitt Fellowship for 2013 & 2014. She initiated two studies during her fellowship - one focused on profiling pancreatic cancer survivors to identify genetic signatures of long term survival following curative surgery for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. PCC has since partnered with the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre to continue funding this encouraging study called - Profiling of Pancreatic Cancer Survivors - Learn More >  
Natalie was also instrumental in studying the benefits of Gemcitabine versus Gemcitabine and Abraxane in treating metastatic pancreatic cancer patients - Learn More > 

Characterization and Role of Stromal Fibroblasts in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma Dr. Ming Tsao - NewPress Release December 2013 - Unique collaboration involving patient  - Partnership with CRS/John van Haastrecht.

HPB Surgical/Operating Room Upgrades - enabled a significant improvement in the equipment for minimally invasive (laparoscopic) pancreas surgery by upgrading all of the equipment to high definition image quality -  Learn More >

Arterial Resection for Cancer of the Pancreas Study - Dr. Ian McGilvray -  Learn More >

Developing the Best Treatment for Pancreas Cancer Patients with Familial BRCA Mutations - Dr. David Hedley -  Learn More > - Partnership with the Farb/Koffman Families.

High Definition 3D Laparoscopic Imaging Equipment - Dr. Sean Cleary - Learn More >

Lifestyles, Dietary and Medical History Factors Associated with Pancreatic Cancer and Screening for pancreatic cancer in a high risk co-hort.  Click here to read about all the funding we are providing at this world-class research institute.  



The Ottawa Hospital - Ottawa, ON

Cyberknife Study  - Drs. Pantarotto and Chaterjee. 
Learn more >   
2013 April Cyberknife Update

Arnie Vered Chair for Hepato-Pancreato- Biliary Reserach Fund - Learn more


BC Cancer Agency - Vancouver B.C.

Targeting Pancreatic Cancer with Nanotechnology - Dr. Khan -  Learn more >research vial

Role of insulin-like growth factor 2 mRNA binding protein 3 (IGF2BP3) in neural and vascular invasion in pancreatic cancer - Dr. Ng - Learn more >

Early Detection for Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma & Genome Sequencing - Drs. Renouf and Schaeffer -  Learn more >


Cross Cancer Institute - Edmonton, Alberta researher

Validation of a metabolomic signature in urine for the early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in a hereditary pancreatic cancer clinic - Dr. Michael Sawyer - New -  December 2013 press release - One step closer to early detection of deadliest form of cancer - Partnership with the CRS


Goodman Cancer Research Centre/The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre -  Montreal, QC

Elucidating the genetics of pancreatic cancer - Dr. George Zogopoulos -  Learn more > - Partnership with the CRS



Ottawa Hospital Research Institute - Ottawa, ONdr bells virus

BioCanRx Oncolytic Virus Study - Funding for a 5 year Clinical Trial - Dr. John Bell -  Learn more >


PCC Innovative Grant Competiton - 2014

We recently launched the first dedicated research grant competition in Canada to spur innovative ideas to fight pancreatic cancer. The recipients are awarded through a peer review process and we are happy to announce the following studies which will be provided seed-funding for two years:

Elucidation of aberrant K-RAS signaling pathways in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC) using MaMTH, a novel proteomics technology 

Synchronous radiotherapy enhancement of pancreatic cancer with xray induced photodynamic therapy and oxygen generating nanoparticles 

Cellular Origins of Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma

The effects of neoadjuvant metformin on  tumour cell proliferation and tumour progression in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma 

Development and characterization of synthetic antibodies against pancreatic cancer targets 

Learn More about all the above exciting research.


Research Grant Partnerships

Canadian Cancer Society (CCS)

In 2015, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Pancreatic Cancer Canada Foundation (PCCF), Craig’s Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society and the QEII Foundation teamed up to co-fund Dr. Rebecca Auer of Ottawa and her study to investigate whether a vaccine could stop pancreatic cancer from spreading after surgery. Click here to read the press release >

Cancer Research Society (CRS) 


In the past, we have awarded research (see above) through a partnership with the Cancer Research Society/Pancreatic Cancer Canada/John van Haastrecht Grant and through a partnership with the Cancer Research Society/Pancreatic Cancer Canada.

The competition is open to candidates from across Canada and the recipient of the grant will be decided by a peer-review committee later this spring. For more information on this partnership/grant, click here >.  



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