The Ralph Bates Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund

Newsletter December 2018

Christmas time again! Time flies these days, doesn’t it? The dark evenings and mornings will thankfully soon give way to more daylight. Before we know it, spring will be here!

Once again, sincere thanks for your donations, however small. Everything helps. As we said in the summer Newsletter, it’s tough going for small Charities right now and the ongoing Brexit saga is doing nothing to maintain or to build confidence. But we’re doing our best to find a cure for pancreatic cancer and are determined to carry on!

Since this time last year, some 9,000 people will have been struck down by this debilitating illness, which does not discriminate between sexes or by age. Frightening. 10-year survival rates are still less than 1% and haven’t changed in the past 40 years*. Only smaller Charities like ours are trying to do something about it.

There hasn’t been too much happening since our last Newsletter in August but Sam Baly- who ran the Virgin London Marathon for our Fund in April- here he is again- has continued to support us. His employer, SHW, an independent property real estate advisory business, selected us as one of their charities for 2018. They hold various charity events during the year and SHW kindly match the money raised. Many thanks to Sam, SHW and all the people there who participated in a charity event.

Cancer Research UK.

Our research at St George’s University of London into the use of drug combinations to combat pancreatic cancer has continued. The latest report from the research team runs to fifteen pages but for our purpose it’s been suggested it could be summarised by saying “that three identified drugs may be good in combination for pancreatic cancer, but sequence and dose will be vital”. As we’ve said before, it’s important to administer each drug either before or after one of the others in the correct order and size of dose for maximum benefit. It’s also important that the drugs used are of low toxicity, readily available and inexpensive.

Our Fund has supported this area of research for some 25 years but financial constraints have unfortunately forced us to temporarily suspend funding.

Elsewhere at St George’s, research work focused on protein control to fight pancreatic cancer continued but was briefly interrupted whilst new laboratory space was allocated, as part of a wider reorganisation of facilities. None the less, the small team of researchers has continued to investigate why a protein known as 4E-BP1, which supresses tumour growth, increases during the application of a combination of certain proteins with Gemcitabine.

We are continuing to support this research so more about progress in the next Newsletter.

The cost of funding an effective research team can be up to £100,000 a year, plus the cost of consumables for use in laboratory work. This is a significant sum. The research teams we support tightly control their expenditure to ensure all your donations are put to good use. None of the Trustees of the Fund receive remuneration and do not claim expenses. This has helped us, over the past five years, to ensure that over 91% of all donations are used for charitable purposes. We are proud of this ratio, as it shows we respect the hard work and commitment by donors, who are generally making donations from taxed income.

You may have seen that actor Peter Blake (not to be confused with Sir Peter Blake, our Patron) passed away recently, but thankfully for him, not from pancreatic cancer. He was 69. Peter starred in Dear John (BBC TV 1986/87) as “Kirk St Moritz” alongside Ralph Bates, who starred as John Lacey. Kirk played a flashy cringe-making fantasist and working alongside Ralph, helped to make Dear John a hit TV show. The series was written by John Sullivan, who before his premature death was our Patron. His widow, Sharon, is a Trustee of our Fund.

It never does any harm to reiterate some of the symptoms of pancreatic cancer. Spread the word! If someone you know mentions they have any of these symptoms, it’s good to advise them to see their doctor- without delay!

  • Yellow skin or eyes and /or itchy skin.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Tummy pain, especially at the top of the abdomen, which may radiate to the back.
  • Bowel changes such as oily, floating faeces.

And remember – pancreatic cancer does not discriminate between sexes and is not age related. Early diagnosis is essential.
An unhealthy pancreas can stop you getting the most benefit from your food, which can lead to weight loss and diarrhoea and there is a real increased risk of unexpected diabetes as the result of insufficient insulin being produced.
Everyone needs a healthy pancreas.
Best wishes for a Happy Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year.
The Trustees. December 2018.

Making a donation. Donations can be made;

Directly to the Administration address shown below.

By direct transfer to our bank account at:
Sort code; 40-26-07. Account number; 81635190.

Please quote your name as the reference.

By donating online by credit or debit card with either;

MyDonate at or

Justgiving at or

Virgin Money Giving at

They all reclaim Gift Aid for us where applicable.

Leaving a Legacy in your Will. If you want to know more about leaving a legacy, please visit our web site at

Gift Aid. If you are a UK tax payer we can claim 25p from HMRC for every £1 you donate. You can download a Gift Aid declaration from our web site but no need to do this if you donate through one of the web sites named above. They take care of Gift Aid. You must be a UK tax payer and if you pay less Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax than the amount of Gift Aid claimed on all your donations in a tax year (April 6 to April 5) it is your responsibility to pay any difference.

Patron: Sir Peter Blake CBE, RDI, RA
Trustees: Virginia Bates, Dr John Glees MD, FRCR, DMRT,
Sharon Sullivan, Michael Bridge FCA,
Nigel Baly BSC, MRICS, Les Biggs ACIS (Secretary).
Registered Charity No. 1007819.

Admin address; 317 Old Bedford Road, Luton, LU2 7BL.
Telephone; 01582 576100 or 07785 281901.

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