Dr George Sharbeen

Identifying therapeutic targets for pancreatic cancer

George works at the Lowy Cancer Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, and seeks to identify new therapeutic targets for treating pancreatic cancer, supported by Cure Cancer Australia.

The research

“Our achievements to date include the identification of proteins in cell walls as therapeutic targets, and the development of a nanoparticle that can travel through the blood stream, enter pancreatic tumour cells and inhibit any target of interest,” he says.

“Our findings represent a larger body of work which has the potential to lead to more effective treatments for tumours in pancreatic and other types of cancer, and improve survival rates.”

Pancreatic cancer is currently the fifth-leading cause of cancer-related death in Australia. It is hard to treat because it is highly chemo-resistant and spreads readily to other parts of the body.

George feels the urgency of his work, particularly having lost family members to cancer himself.

“It’s a constant reminder of the struggles patients and their families face,” he says. “I believe it’s my responsibility to ensure my work is always focused on improving patient survival and quality of life.”

Hope in the fight

To those who have helped fund George’s work through their donations or fundraising, he says:

“Your time, effort and donations not only give hope in the fight, they help fund future generations of research leaders who’d otherwise not get a chance to develop the track record they need.”

On a personal level, George says that it is easy to become consumed by work in cancer research. “One of the biggest challenges is setting aside time to recharge and step back and re-evaluate research in the grander scheme,” he says.

When he does find the time, George enjoys indoor rock climbing. He particularly enjoys the physical exertion and problem-solving skills that the sport requires.

 

George is funded by Cure Cancer Australia through the Cancer Australia Priority-driven Cancer Support Scheme. His grant is solely supported by The Can Too Foundation.

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