2022 Pancare scholarship opportunities launch today
Pancare is pleased to announce that its 2022 Pancare Scholarships & Awards Program will be launching this week, with two scholarship and award opportunities on offer, including the Smith-Barrett Early Career Research Fellowship Award and the Timothy McGahan PhD Scholarship.
We recognise that fostering an engaged clinical research community is a major factor in developing research programs that will progress the therapies and best-practice care for people impacted by upper gastrointestinal (GI) cancer into the future.
The aim of the new 2022 Pancare Scholarships round is to engage researchers in accelerating world-leading clinical research to deliver results that improve outcomes and quality of life for those living with upper gastrointestinal cancers, their carers and families, with a focus in 2022 on biliary and pancreatic cancer research.
Pancare is proud to host the Smith-Barrett Fellowship – supercharging biliary cancer research. This award is supported by funding provided by the Highland Foundation, founded by the Smith family, of PFD Food Services. It has been created in memory of long-standing close friend of the Smith Family, Rod Barrett, who bravely battled biliary cancer and passed away in January 2020.
Rod, head of Ford Performance Vehicles for a time in the mid 2000’s, had a long-time involvement in the V8 motor industry. He was known for his genuine passion, drive and enthusiasm for the industry, ignited the first time he drove a supercharged Falcon GT.
This fellowship is created in the spirit of Rods drive for supercars, to accelerate biliary cancer research by encouraging and supporting early career researchers to take up a career in biliary cancer research.
This award is open to clinical and research post docs (1-5 years following completion of PhD), to achieve highs research priorities of identification of new therapeutic targets, risk factors, early detection, clinical care and clinical trials in biliary cancer.
Value: 2-year funding $50,000/y with an option to apply for a 3rd year $100,000 top-up for a project performance that meets its expectations and has potential to take to the next level through additional funding. Starting July 2022.
Funds for this project were kindly donated by the Rod’s Accelerator for Biliary Cancer – a Highland Foundation Initiative fund.
Timothy McGahan Research Scholarship
Pancare is pleased to be offering a PhD Scholarship dedicated to pancreatic cancer research in memorial to Timothy McGahan.
Tim McGahan was a respected vascular surgeon from Brisbane, well known for his friendly demeanour and ability to calmly navigate high stress situations. Before this, however, he was a caring brother to nine, enthusiastic father to three, doting grandfather to two, adoring husband to one and unconditional friend to countless others. Tim was diagnosed with metastatic pancreatic cancer in May of 2020, and despite a legendary battle, passed away just shy of 12 months from his diagnosis. Tragically, his younger brother Andrew, a celebrated author, died from the same disease two years earlier.
Even for those known to be at higher risk, diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is usually made too late. We must come up with better ways of detecting this aggressive disease before it spreads.
Although devastated by his loss, the social and professional community Tim left behind were invigorated by his legacy to “fulfil your potential” every single day. As a result, nearly $75,000 was raised for Pancare in his honour. The McGahan family now hope this money will help a dedicated PhD candidate fulfil their own potential in finding new ways to diagnose this terrible disease earlier.
Value: $65,000 ($21,600 per year over three years) plus $10,000 administrating institution costs starting July 2022.
Funds for the Timothy McGahan Research Scholarship have been graciously donated by the McGahan family and friends.
Pancare Foundation continues to deliver significant investment in research for better treatments and better lives for Australians impacted by pancreatic and upper gastrointestinal cancers with this year’s scholarships and awards delivering $425,000 in much needed support for clinical researchers.
2021 Pancare Scholarships Winners
Dr Michael Kuan-Ching Lee, a medical oncologist from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the University of Melbourne, has been awarded the 2021 Onwards & Upwards Damien Woodruff Scholarship, to continue his PhD studies on targeting alternative splicing as a new therapeutic strategy for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.
Ms Antonia Cadell, from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, has been awarded the 2021 Phil Sly Research Scholarship. Through her PhD research, Antonia aims to establish the significance of subcellular “JNK” activity in pancreatic cancer and determine whether the novel therapeutic agents capable of specifically targeting oncogenic JNK activity in triple negative breast cancer will also be relevant for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.
Pancare Foundation continues to deliver significant investment in research for better treatments and better lives for Australians impacted by pancreatic and upper gastrointestinal cancers with this year’s scholarships delivering $180,000 in much needed support for early-career researchers.
Cancer Australia Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme
Additional to the Pancare Scholarships & Awards Program, Pancare actively supports Cancer Australia’s Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme (PdCCRS) with collaborative funding for early-career projects to support research that reduces the impact of cancer on the community and improves outcomes for people affected by cancer.
Pancare is currently supporting a 2019 PdCCRS Project Grant scheme (Dr Kara Vine-Perrow, University of Wollongong) and will support the new 2021 PdCCRS Early Career Research stream, for which funding will begin in 2022.
Where are they now? Past Pancare Scholarship Awardees
Dr Venessa Chin, 2013 Phil Sly Research Scholarship Winner
A Medical Oncologist now at the Kinghorn Cancer Centre at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, Dr Venessa Chin completed her PhD work within the Personalised Cancer Therapeutics group at the Garvan Institute for Medical Research. Dr Chin was the inaugural winner of the Phil Sly Research Scholarship in 2013, which supported her project which used genomics to inform therapeutic discoveries in pancreatic cancer. The project included a meta-analysis, in vitro and in vivo analyses of rationally-selected drug targets as well as an analysis of real-time metastasis formation in the pancreas.
Dr Chin used her Phil Sly Research Scholarship funds to support her contributions to several high-impact publications, including seminal articles in Cochrane Reviews, Expert Reviews in Molecular Medicine and the World Journal of Gastroenterology. This important body of work is continuing to deliver the research framework for positive outcomes for those affected by pancreatic cancer.
Dr Kai Wang, 2015 Moshe Sambor Research Scholarship Winner
Dr Kai Wang was awarded the Moshe Sambor Research Scholarship in 2015 for his work on pancreatic cancer at the University of Melbourne. Ultimately completing his PhD in 2019 with support from the award, Dr Wang produced five high-impact research publications and delivered several international presentations.
P21-activated kinases (PAKs) are down-stream effectors of KRAS oncogene, which predominately drives the development of pancreatic cancer. Dr Wang investigated the role of PAKs in tumour biology and therapeutic regimens. He discovered that inhibition of PAKs can suppress tumour progression, improve survival in mouse models and enhance the effects of chemotherapy agents.
He also showed that PAKs were potentially involved in the body’s immune response against cancer cells. His work is continuing in Melbourne and has led to the discovery of new medicines being developed to fight pancreatic cancer.
Following his PhD graduation, Dr Wang returned to China and continued his general surgical training in a Hangzhou, First People’s Hospital, Zheijang Unveristy.
Dr Wang said,
“Study and living experience in University of Melbourne was a part of valuable and precious memory in my life. I do appreciate the Pancare Foundation for giving me the Moshe Sambor Scholarship to support my PhD research in pancreatic cancer. I firmly believe that research project investment could re-shape our management of cancer.”
This award was made possible by Mr Perry Sambor, businessman, advocate of Victoria’s racing industry and Founding Director of the Live Life Foundation. This award honoured Perry’s late father, Moshe, who battled with stomach cancer.
This award enabled a talented clinician-scientist, Dr Wang, to undertake three years of research in Australia as part of a PhD degree, which has gone a long way to improving outcomes of patients with pancreatic, liver, biliary, stomach and oesophageal cancers.
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