The Facts

Pancreatic cancer is one the most deadly forms of the disease and while treatments for some types of cancer have made huge strides forward, the survival rates for pancreatic cancer have not improved in 40 years

  • 200,000 people die from pancreatic cancer every ear, worldwide
  • Only 5% of people with pancreatic cancer are still alive five years after diagnosis
  • Only 1% of people diagnosed are still alive after ten years

How bubbles can help fight cancer

One of the most difficult problems of treating many cancers is how to deliver the treatment right where it is needed – direct to the tumour – without causing damage to other parts of the patient’s body.

Chemotherapy drugs are effective against cancer cells, but in order to reach the cancerous area they must currently be taken either  by mouth or intravenous (IV) injection. These methods take a harsh toll on surrounding tissue, and the same can be true for radiotherapy. The side effects can be devasting, and the lengthy treatment process is gruelling.

Injected microbubbles have been used in medicine for years, as a contrast agent to improve the resolution of ultrasound images. Professor Callan saw a way that they could help deliver cancer drugs. By encasing the tiny bubbles with a lipid (oil) shell, he found he could attach drug particles to the bubbles. When they are injected, the bubbles carry these drugs around the patient’s body until they are popped by a burst of harmless ultrasound waves, highly localised in the centre of the tumour. This releases the medicine where it is needed.

Scientific research is a lengthy and costly process. Funding is an essential component for research. Please join the fight against pancreatic cancer by donating via the telephone campaign.

Harold's story

Harold was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died within a matter of weeks. It was shockingly aggressive and very difficult to treat. This is often the case with pancreatic cancer, by the time the symptoms appear, in most cases it is too late to do anything.
Harold’s family heard about the research being done at Ulster University and wanted to help, so in memory of Harold they joined together and made a donation.
The idea that one day it might be possible to use tiny oxygen bubbles loaded with medicine to treat pancreatic cancer, is incredible to imagine.

Look out for the symptoms and speak to your GP

  • Mid back pain
  • Indigestion not responding to prescribed medication
  • New onset diabetes not associated with weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Low mood or depression
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Pain on eating
  • Jaundice (possibly itchy skin)
  • Pale or smelly stools that don’t flush easily
  • Unexplained weight loss