Jul 25, 2012

By Jane Brown

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Canadian scientists are a step closer in understanding how pancreatic cancer develops.  Researchers at Toronto’s Princess Margaret Hosptial have created a living 3-D “pancreas in a dish”.  It’s a microscopic model of a pancreatic duct, one of the tubes that carry insulin and other substances through the organ, and the site where most tumours tend to arise.

The next step is to try to induce cancer in the ball-like cluster of cells, with the goal of shedding light on the causes of the disease and ultimately coming up with potential treatments.

The disease has a dismal survival rate: just six per cent of patients diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas are still alive five years later.  Our own Libby Znaimer is a four year survivor of pancreatic cancer.  She heads up Team Zoomer, along with Jane Brown, in the Weekend to End Women’s Cancers which funds cancer research at the Princess Margaret.  For more information and to donate, click on the “Donate to Team Zoomer” at

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