Welcome to Pete’s Pancreas Project Website

Dear friends, family, colleagues and supporters,


Welcome to Pete's Pancreas Project. Many of you already know that in November 2011 our father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the age of 62, a month into his retirement. He underwent major surgery on 15th December at the Freeman Hospital Newcastle, to have this removed, along with his spleen. Sadly he passed away on 10/4/2014 following a long battle with this hideous disease.


Pancreatic cancer is diagnosed in 6000 people in the UK annually and is the fourth most common cancer.  Acinar cell cancer (ACC) of the pancreas however, is a very rare type of pancreatic cancer. The treatment for these are cancers is surgical resection (where possible) and chemotherapy. In practice the chemotherapy (Gemcitabine and or Capecitabine) that is given to patients with ACC is given to them as it is the chemotherapy that has shown, in trials, to be effective in treating patients with the most common (>95%) type of pancreatic cancer (adenocarcinoma).


The optimal chemotherapy to give to patients with ACC is not known.


A major obstacle in investigating the potential role of different chemotherapy agents in the treatment of ACC are the small number of cases available in each individual specialist centre.


Pete’s Pancreas Project in conjunction with the research team at the specialist HPB surgical centre at the Freeman Hospital Newcastle aim to:


  • Set up a UK registry of ACC based at the Freeman Hospital


  • Collect retrospective and prospective demographic, treatment and outcome data of patients with a diagnosis of ACC


  • Facilitate the movement of histological tissue samples from other specialist centres to the Freeman Hospital for analysis


This will enable :


  • Examination of detailed data about ACC in the UK to provide the most comprehensive information for clinicians and patients


  • Results from detailed pathological analysis of specimens will provide information regarding the potential role for chemotherapy agents


Our panel of tests will look at 20-30 chemotherapy agents. We will then be able to construct individual ‘chemotherapy signatures’ i.e know exactly which chemotherapy agents are likely to work for each individual patient. Chemotherapy agents that are frequently detected to have a potential effect will be noted. Such combination therapy could then be used for future patients and results collated


A standard chemotherapy regime may then be constructed to be used nationally and internationally. This analysis has never been done before ans it will provide important information for therapeutic agents in the treatment of ACC to date we have had huge support from family and friends and we aim to continue our fundraising efforts indefinitely.  We would like to thank those who have helped us to get this far.


Daniel, Ruth, James and Maureen (The Dowen’s), and of course our Father, Peter Dowen.