I miss her every day
Teresa Bocking was a health conscious mother of two; she grew her own vegetables and exercised regularly, so when a niggling pain in her back turned out to be pancreatic cancer, her family was bewildered.
“We knew very little about pancreatic cancer. Initially they’d thought she may have gallstones, we were completely unprepared for the diagnosis she received. We wanted to know what our options were so we went digging around for some information and that’s when we realised that the prognosis wasn’t looking too good and she was facing a big up-hill battle,” Teresa’s husband Brad said.
Teresa endured months of chemotherapy and radiation to combat the cancer, but ultimately was transferred to a hospice following surgical complications.
“She went into a hospice in early July and that’s where she stayed for the next 4 weeks, before passing away on the 30th of July 2011,” Brad said.
“When Teresa was sick we were looking at anything that might have been related to treating her type of cancer. We hoped for results, or positive news, anything.
“Sadly, as I discovered when Teresa was sick, the tools to fight cancer haven’t improved that much for quite a long time. Research continues to be vital in the battle to find a cure for this devastating disease.”
Pancreatic cancer researcher Professor Ruth Ganss, said blood vessels surrounding a tumour grow uncontrollably, creating a vascular barrier that prevents immune-based anti-cancer therapies from working effectively.
“Pancreatic cancer is unique because it has a high “stromal” component. Stroma is a collective term for all material, including blood vessels, which surround the actual tumour cells. In a nutshell, we are trying to control this stroma to break the vicious cycle of tumour cell support and to allow better access of anti-cancer drugs,” Professor Ganss said.
Perkin’s Professor Ganss, who was the 2013 WA Cancer Researcher of the Year, has developed a technique that normalises diseased blood vessels allowing immune cells to break through the tumour.
Professor Ganss, together with her team in Laboratory of Tumour Immunology, has found that alongside regular anti-cancer therapies, normalising the blood vessels greatly increases the likelihood of survival as well as reducing unwanted side effects.
Click here to find out more about Professor Ganss’ ground breaking research.