SA grant funds pancreatic cancer research

South Australian researchers will use a $100,000 grant to research new treatments aimed at targeting and killing pancreatic cancer cells.

The Avner Pancreatic Cancer Foundation awarded the money to a team from the University of South Australia on November 21, which is World Pancreatic Cancer Day.

Professor Eva Bezak, a specialist in medical radiation science at the university, said the researchers will look at how high energy particles can be used to treat cancer.

"This therapy, known as radio-immunotherapy, can target and kill cancer cells whilst sparing most normal cells," she said.

"By minimising damage to normal cells, the likelihood of side effects from the therapy is reduced, increasing a patient's quality of life during treatment."

The therapy would use a radioactive isotope that lives longer in the body than previous treatments, allowing more time to target and kill cancer cells.

If it is shown to be effective, the team will begin testing in pre-clinical cases of pancreatic cancer.

Cancer of the pancreas is one of the most lethal types and has a current five-year survival rate of 9.8 per cent.

Of the 3200 people diagnosed in Australia each year, four out of every five face a median survival of less than 12 months.