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New figures show drop in support from major funders for pancreatic cancer research

6 June 2013

New figures released by the National Cancer Research Institute show drop in funding for pancreatic cancer research

Despite being the 5th commonest cause of cancer death in the UK, with a 3% survival rate that has not improved in forty years, pancreatic cancer has historically been less well funded when it comes to research than many other types of cancer. Although the major funders’ spend on pancreatic cancer research has increased slightly over the last few years, the actual amount has always been less than 1 per cent of the total spent on cancer research. The figure for 2011 was just under £5.2 million out of a total of £507.3 million. New figures released by the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) show that major funders’ support for pancreatic cancer research in 2012 fell to £4.5 million – a drop of 13 per cent compared with 2011.

The figures show the combined annual spend by NCRI members - which include government, major charities and the pharmaceutical industry - on specific cancer types. They show that less than £5 million was spent on pancreatic cancer research last year, compared to over £30 million on leukaemia and £40 million on breast cancer research. Just over £20 million was spent on prostate cancer research, with lung cancer just under the £15 million mark.

The figures are extremely disappointing, says Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund’s CEO, Maggie Blanks. “With the past small rise in the amount of research funding allocated by NCRI members specifically to pancreatic cancer, we were hopeful that the low survival cancers like pancreatic were being given more attention and that this trend would continue,” she says. “But to see the 2012 funding drop below £5 million is a real blow.  Pancreatic cancer has the worst survival rate of all common cancers yet still it remains severely underfunded. The funding for research we provide from Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund (PCRF) is outside the NCRI members’ spend and we at PCRF are extremely proud that, in contrast to the reduction in funding by the big organisations, we were able to increase our research grants to £1 million for 2012.”

Since 2006 PCRF has funded 27 research projects across the UK, worth a total of £4 million.

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