The Ralph Bates Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund

Newsletter Summer 2015

Here we are with more than half of the year gone so far! Where does the time go? We’ve had Wimbledon, the cricket is well under way, the football season starts soon and then we have the rugby world cup! And meanwhile, through your help, our researchers continue to try to find a cure for a most debilitating illness.

So what have we been doing?
In January you may remember that we announced a significant breakthrough in our fight against pancreatic cancer – “that consistent and significant improvements in overall survival rates can be achieved by application of a bacterially derived substance combined with the drug Gemcitabine”.

Immodulon Therapeutics, with whom we collaborate for part of our research, have now reported that they have a lot of new data and a far better idea of what cancer is all about in relation to immunity – and with four patients in a controlled clinical trial still alive, the outlook is much brighter. Four doesn’t seem many but it’s a lot better than zero! It wasn’t long ago that immunology was not considered an answer to pancreatic cancer, but these results show how determined our researchers are in exploring every possible avenue. The research and controlled clinical trials continue.

Alongside this, research has continued into the control of proteins to reduce the sensitivity of pancreatic cancer cells to Gemcitabine. For many years, Gemcitabine has been the standard treatment for pancreatic cancer but its application can produce highly toxic side effects and additionally, most patients develop a resistance to the drug.

Our research is concentrating on identifying an agent which can make tumours sensitive to Gemcitabine, thereby allowing lower doses to be used and overcoming the problem of resistance.
This research is also continuing, as exciting preliminary findings require additional development, the aim being to identify conditions which can lead to a clinical trial.
This can take some time and can be costly but in the end, will be worth it!

And what about our supporters?
Here’s what a few of them have done or are doing;

jonathan-dunnettJonathan Dunnett is windsurfing around Britain!

Jonathan (Jono) Dunnett is windsurfing around Britain between mid-June and end September 2015 in aid of our Fund and another charity*. He’s 41 years old and has been windsurfing since aged 10. On June 13th 2015 he started his bid to become the first person to windsurf around Britain without an on-water support team. Only three people have windsurfed around Britain (the mainland of England, Scotland and Wales) and their efforts were aided by yacht/powerboat support.

Jono says on his web site that he is doing this because; “In 1998 a family who treated me as their own had their lives turned upside-down. Paco – a full-of-life and strong-as-an-ox builder – and father of two delightful little girls – was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Initially, Paco fought the cancer and received treatment, but really there was nothing to be done. The haunted loneliness in Paco’s eyes is my last memory of this kind man. By choosing this charity I feel like I am doing something, whilst I could be doing nothing. By ‘doing it for Paco’ I’ll also find more strength when times get tough. And to those girls, now grown up, it’s a way of saying ‘your father is not forgotten”.

You can track Jono’s position by visiting On July 22 he was at the Mull of Kintyre having crossed from Northern Ireland to Scotland. Jono’s fundraising page is on www.MyDonate. Jono- many thanks for your support.

*Jono is also supporting Tanzanian Orphans and Widows (STOW), a registered charity founded by a group of people in Suffolk in 2005. Its aim is to relieve the poverty and to advance the education of orphaned or vulnerable children.

Adidas Silverstone Half Marathon

michelle-robertsHere’s Michelle Roberts at the end of the Adidas Silverstone Half Marathon which took place in the middle of March. Michelle reckons she looks rough but after 13 miles, we’d say she looks pretty good!

Michelle completed the course, which is run around parts of the motor racing circuit, in 2 hours 19 minutes, a tremendous achievement for a first timer!
Michelle and her partner, Andy, are long term supporters of our Fund- many thanks to both of you.

We also had Victoria Bayliss and some work colleagues running but no photos unfortunately! Victoria ran in the memory of her dad, Simon who died from pancreatic cancer several years ago. Her mother, Sally, has also run for our Fund. Once again, many thanks!

And thanks also to Perry Aghajanoff who runs the Only Fools & Horses Appreciation Society web site. Perry donates some of the proceeds of the sales from the web site to charity and regularly donates to our Fund. Thanks Perry. If you’re an OFAH fan, is worth a visit!

And as always, many thanks to all the others who spend their money, time and energy supporting us. Your support is very much appreciated and you are assured that all donations are put to good use in finding a cure for a most debilitating and aggressive illness.

It was a great pity to learn recently that actor John Hurt has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Let’s hope John’s treatment is effective. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in Europe and the USA and has a dismal 5-year survival rate of 1%. It is not age related nor gender selective and can be difficult to diagnose. Anything we can do to learn more about this terrible cancer is welcome.

We have plans to create an “In memoriam” page on our web site which will provide a small space (something like credit card size) for our donors to record a few words about members their family, their friends or colleagues who were victims of pancreatic cancer. An image may be possible- we don’t know the exact size of the space per entry yet. The page should be ready by the end of August, so if you would like to make an entry, email the text and any image you would like to feature to We’ll acknowledge the email and let you know when the entry has been made.

Finally, we hope you all have a good summer and keep healthy. Grateful thanks for your generous support. As you know, we do not waste your hard earned donations on glossy, expensive advertising (this Newsletter is a good example!) nor on fat cat salaries or expenses. And we also get frustrated and annoyed when some charities are – quite rightly- heavily criticised in the media for putting pressure on donors or for “Chugging”. There’s always two ways to do things and we prefer to treat our donors as friends.

The Trustees.
July 2015.

Making a donation. Donations can be made;
• Directly to the Administration address shown on page 1.
• By direct transfer to our bank account at:
HSBC. 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.
• 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 will take care of Gift Aid. But you must have paid or will pay an amount of Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax for each year (6 April to 5 April) that is at least equal to the amount of tax that all the charities or Community Amateur Sports Clubs that you donate to will reclaim on your gifts for that tax year. Don’t forget- VAT and Council Tax do not qualify.

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