World Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Day

IHMRI supports local families impacted by the disease this November.

Early detection of cancer can increase survival rates for many patients, but pancreatic cancer remains one of the most difficult to detect and treat.

Lifespan after diagnosis is less than five years and less than ten per cent of patients will beat the disease.

At the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI), Dr Kara Vine Perrow is working to increase survival rates with a dual action, tumour targeting drug treatment.

“Pancreatic cancer tumours are hard to reach and therefore difficult to treat successfully with chemotherapy, we’re developing a new drug treatment that can target the tumour and reduce its size,” says Dr Vine Perrow.

“If we can reduce the tumour, surgeons have a better chance of treating the affected organ, and increasing survival rates for patients.”

Pancreatic cancer kills more than 3000 Australian men and women every year.

It’s the fifth most common cause of cancer death across the nation.

For Wollongong’s Emma Rean, the killer disease took her sister’s life at a time she had lived for.

“Christine always wanted to be a Mum, her son Elijah was just two months old when she was diagnosed,” says Emma Rean.

“The doctor said it couldn’t be pancreatic cancer – she was too young.”

“As a family, we were devastated by the diagnosis after the cancer was discovered during a procedure in June 2017,” added Emma.

Christine Campbell was just 34 years old at the time.

The young mum underwent chemotherapy but less than two years later, she was told it wasn’t working.

“By February 2019, we were told the tumour had grown too much and that treatment was no longer going to work,” recalls Emma.

Christine’s son Elijah had just turned two when she passed away in May 2019.

The family are now dedicated to keeping Christine’s memory alive for Elijah.

“We want to raise awareness of the disease and support research to help other families impacted by pancreatic cancer,” says Emma.

Devastated by the loss of her sister, Emma Rean began investigating pancreatic cancer research in Australia.

“I work at Wollongong University and I was so impressed to discover the work of Dr Kara Vine Perrow and her team at IHMRI.”

“To find out that some of the most exciting drug treatment research is happening right here in the Illawarra means so much to our family.”

Read more about Dr Vine-Perrow’s research here


Media contact

Louise Negline, Communications Coordinator

t: 4221 4702

m: 0417 044 867


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