Fighting pancreatic cancer

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pancreatic cancerWest Australian scientists Barry Marshall and Robin Warren won the 2005 Nobel prize for medicine for their 1983 discovery that Helicobacter pylori – not stress – causes ulcers.

More than two decades later, Queensland Cancer Fund researchers are about to launch a study into whether the same bacteria interacts with a person's genes and the environment to increase their risk of pancreatic cancer.

Epidemiologist Rachel Neale, lead researcher on the project, said the study hinged on Queenslanders' willingness to take part in the study, which will select its 1000 participants randomly from the electoral roll.

Joe Cranitch, husband of former Courier-Mail sub-editor Jo Oliphant who died of pancreatic cancer two years ago, urged Queenslanders to be involved.

"Anything that can be done to assist in the early detection of this cancer is magnificent," he said.

The Queensland Cancer Fund recently awarded the inaugural Jo Oliphant PhD scholarship, worth $64,000 over three years, to Nicole Wheatley, of the University of Queensland.

"Through our family's tragic loss, if a good thing can come out of research to unlock some of the reasons why this happened, that's a wonderful thing," said Sergeant Cranitch, father of Phoebe, 6, Caitlin, 5, and Michael, 3.

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