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An in-depth look at our region's emerging economic, social, political and cultural identity.

UNC Charlotte And Levine Team Up For Pancreatic Cancer Research

Courtesy of UNC Charlotte

The Levine Cancer Institute and UNC Charlotte are teaming up for a new project they hope will make a difference in the world of cancer research. It's called the Charlotte Pancreatic Cancer Project.

UNC Charlotte and the Levine Cancer Institute will be making $400,000 in grants available to scientists and doctors at both institutions. 

The goal is for them to work together to find ways to treat pancreatic cancer. The cancer is the fourth-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Only a fifth of Americans who are diagnosed with the disease survive more than a year, according to the American Cancer Society. Bob Wilhelm is vice chancellor for research and economic development at UNC Charlotte. 

"This is a really exciting step forward for research medicine," Wilhelm says. "It's impressive, the investment the Carolinas Healthcare System has made to build up the Levine Cancer Institute and to bring more research-oriented treatment in the Charlotte region."

Doctor Derek Raghavan, president of the Levine Cancer Institute says the goal is to entice scientists from other research areas to put more effort into pancreatic cancer research. 

"There have been some grandiose plans announced over the years. The war on cancer was supposed to end 20 years ago. And then it was going to end in 2012 and so on," Raghavan says. "We're not making any inflated claims. We're simply saying, we're trying to provide some money to allow people to do creative experiments or to bring good experience from outside the area of pancreas research, to focus on pancreas research and try to improve the results of patients." 

The first round of applications for grants will be accepted until March 1. Raghavan says the $200,000 they provided for the project came from donations and their operating budget. He says some examples of good research proposals might be looking at why people get pancreatic cancer or examining biopsies of patients who fared well versus those who didn't and trying to identify a gene target. He says ultimately, the research is aimed at benefiting patients.