2021 Pancare Scholarship Opportunities Launching This Week
Pancare is pleased to announce that its 2021 Pancare Scholarships & Awards Program will be launching this week, with two scholarship opportunities on offer.
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 2021 Pancare Scholarships round is to engage early-career researchers in accelerating world-leading clinical research to deliver results that improve outcomes and quality of life for those living with pancreatic, oesophageal, stomach, liver and biliary cancers and their carers and families.
Pancare is introducing a new scholarship and raising the value of both awards on offer in 2021.
Phil Sly Research Scholarship
First awarded in 2013, the Phil Sly Research Scholarship honours the life of Phil Sly, who was an entrepreneur, building developer, racehorse owner, philanthropist and cancer survivor. He battled colorectal cancer, liver and lung metastases with the same determination as applied to all aspects of his life. Phil was a supporter, board member and friend of the Pancare Foundation from its early days. He believed in fostering world-class research to improve the management of pancreatic, liver, biliary, oesophageal and stomach cancers. This scholarship acknowledges his generosity, passion and inspirational approach to life.
The Pancare Foundation offers the Phil Sly Research Scholarship to support a dedicated PhD candidate to achieve success in important research related to pancreatic, oesophageal, stomach, liver or biliary cancer.
Value: $75,000 total ($25,000 per year over three years) starting July 1, 2021
Funds for the Phil Sly Research Scholarship have been graciously donated by the Sly family and through Pancare’s Heidelberg Corporate Golf Day.
New! Onwards & Upwards Damien Woodruff Scholarship
The newest Pancare Foundation Scholarship has been named in honour of Damien Woodruff, a bank executive, family man and pancreatic cancer survivor. After suffering vague symptoms for several months, Damien developed jaundice, which triggered a relatively early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in January 2015. This early diagnosis meant that he was able to opt for a Whipple procedure for the best chance of a cure. Following surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, Damien lived his “new” best life” with family and friends for almost four years. Despite the adversity ahead of him and his family, Damien would always say ‘onwards and upwards’ to shift his mindset and move past the hurdles of their cancer journey.
For the Woodruff family and Damien’s legacy, early detection is the most important breakthrough Australia needs when it comes to making progress in the fight against pancreatic cancer. In addition to more Australians being aware of the symptoms of the disease, Damien would be hoping that through research an early detection test would be available to everyone. It’s one of the ways we can improve the survival rate for future generations.
The Pancare Foundation offers the Onwards & Upwards Damien Woodruff Scholarship to support a dedicated PhD candidate to achieve success in high-quality research related to pancreatic cancer – with a focus on early diagnosis or supportive care for patients, carers and families.
Value: $75,000 total ($25,000 per year over two years) starting July 1, 2021
Funds for the Onwards & Upwards Damien Woodruff Scholarship have been graciously donated by Insurance Advisernet and raised through Pancare’s Festival of Sport event.
Read more about Damien’s story.
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.
Read more . . .