The Ralph Bates Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund

Summer 2020 Newsletter

We’ve just heard that an article submitted by our research team, has been accepted for publication in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, a highly respected international, peer-reviewed, open access journal published online. If you want to find out more, you can go online to access the article at: Rimmer, E.; Rashid, S.; Kraev, I.; Miralles, F.; Elia, A. Extracellular Vesicles Inhibit the Response of Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma Cells to Gemcitabine and TRAIL Treatment. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23, 7810.

You need to enter all the words in italics to access the file.
The research involved further study of the treatment of cancerous cells with gemcitabine and the cytokine TRAIL.

Articles published in respected Journals such as the IJMS, must be reviewed in-depth by independent bodies. The fact that this article has been accepted indicates the high quality of the research achieved by Androulla and her team.

Recently, there have been several articles in the national press and on other social media regarding potential treatments for pancreatic cancer. Our team at St George’s always follow up on any new ideas which may emerge and are generally aware of them before publication elsewhere! The various research teams do not view their work as a race with other teams, but a healthy collaboration.

One article reported the findings of research teams in Barcelona and Madrid where they discovered that detectable changes involving gut bugs found in stool samples, might provide an early warning sign of pancreatic cancer. The findings were independently verified by a research team in Germany and further research is now being carried out.

A more recent article in the Daily Telegraph referred to research by the UK Institute of Cancer Research involving the application of a gene and a protein, known as Grem1, which could be useful in controlling and combatting pancreatic cancer. This research is also continuing.

It’s good to see that multiple avenues are being taken in research and that new ideas are being considered but in both the above cases, there is still a long way to go. It takes significant research to get a treatment to the stage where it can be administered safely. As you know from our own research, it’s expensive and can take many years, so a cautionary approach is needed to make sure false hopes are not created.

And finally on this point, Channel 4 are running a series of programs on cutting-edge surgery- “Super Surgeons- a chance of life” which features an operation on a pancreatic cancer patient during one of the programs. If you’re too late to watch it live, try catch-up! Should be interesting!

Regarding our own research, unfortunately it was not possible to retain research assistant Ella Rimmer, who is now headed to Bath University, to undertake her PhD. As Androulla told us, all researchers need to spread their wings and although we are sorry to lose her, we wish Ella well in her new role.
Androulla and her team are still very keen to fund a PhD studentship that can continue with Ella’s work. Generating sufficient funds to continue our research remains our top priority. We’re encouraged by the quality of the research which enabled the IJMS article to be published and feel that exciting developments could be seen in the next few years. We obviously cannot do this without your support and although we’re not in the habit of making direct appeals to our donors, we feel our need for funds is worthy of being bought to your attention.

On a lighter note, Virginia’s grandson, who has always shown an interest in what his grandmother gets up to, took the opportunity in February to visit our laboratory at St George’s, with Virginia.

The team planned the day meticulously and treated him to a fascinating insight into their research techniques. His mum, Daisy, said he a fantastic day!

Here’s Woody, suitably dressed in an oversized laboratory coat and well masked against Covid, which was the requirement in February. Androulla, our research leader is on his left, second row.

A vast amount of research goes on all the time in the laboratory. Androulla estimates that there are around 1000 tests/trials active at any given time, so there was plenty for Woody to see. You never know, we might have a budding scientist in our midst!

The London Marathon is back with us! It’s now sponsored by TCS (Tata Consultancy Services). We have an extremely keen runner participating for us this time. Mike Phillips, an airline pilot, has had this event on his bucket list for a long time and jumped at the chance of supporting our Fund. There’s still some 70 days to go to the race on Sunday 2 October and no doubt Mike will be training for most of them! We wish him the best of luck and it doesn’t matter how long it takes him because it will be an achievement most of us wouldn’t consider doing!

If you would like to support Mike, you can do so at

“Enthuse” is the successor to Virgin Moneygiving which no longer operates. Enthuse will handle Gift Aid on our behalf and accept credit and debit cards.

Once again, many thanks for your support- it’s sincerely appreciated.
Stay safe!

The Trustees.
July 2022

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