A CANCER scientist is calling on people in Glasgow to support fundraising for Cancer Research UK as the charity reveals it is likely to lose £300 million due to the pandemic.

Dr Saadia Karim, a researcher at the Beatson, will join thousands of people from across the UK who have all vowed to run, walk or jog 5K either alone or in small, socially distanced groups this April and raise money for life-saving research.

All 400 Race for Life events across the UK were cancelled last year to protect the country’s health during the pandemic.

And the charity’s much-loved events, which were scheduled for this spring and early summer, have also now been postponed.

Cancer Research UK predicts a staggering £300m drop in income caused by Covid-19 over the next three years, which could put future medical breakthroughs at risk.  

But Dr Karim knows exactly how vital it is to keep raising funds.

She and her colleagues are testing new drugs which could lead to better and kinder treatment for pancreatic cancer.

Dr Karim said: “Covid-19 has slowed me and my colleagues down, but we have been determined to keep our experiments going where we can.

"It’s been the most challenging year, but I’m more determined than ever to find new treatments which will bring hope to people living with pancreatic cancer.

"I’m proud to play my part in delivering world-class research in the city I call home.

"Research like mine wouldn’t happen without the generosity of the people of Glasgow.

"I’d encourage everyone across Glasgow to pull on their trainers, get out in the fresh air and join me for Race for Life at Home this spring.” 

Dr Karim’s research is part of the PRECISION-Panc initiative.

PRECISION-Panc was established to improve outcomes for pancreatic cancer, where survival remains low.

Every year around 770 people die from pancreatic cancer in Scotland, making it the sixth most common cause of cancer deaths in Scotland, accounting for 5% of all cancer deaths in 2018.

Led by Professor Andrew Biankin at Glasgow University and involving researchers across the UK, PRECISION-Panc is running a large group of clinical trials which aim to match people with different types of pancreatic cancer to a menu of treatments which could potentially benefit them.

Cancer Research UK will provide £10 million of funding in total to PRECISION-Panc.

Dr Karim said: "Our models of pancreatic cancer give us the chance to identify promising potential drugs for clinical trials, as well as helping us better understand the different types of pancreatic cancer and how they might respond to treatment.

"Getting treatments from the lab to the patient has been one of the biggest challenges in pancreatic cancer, but our research will speed up that process and offer new hope to people who are going through this disease."

  Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, which has been in partnership with Tesco for 20 years, is a series of 3K, 5K, 10K, Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids events which raise millions of pounds every year to help beat cancer by funding crucial research.  

  A live broadcast on the Cancer Research UK Race for Life Facebook and Race for Life Instagram pages on Saturday, April 24 will include a warm up from a fitness expert as well as inspirational messages of support from people who have been through cancer.

Participants are then invited to run, walk or jog 5K.

Organisers are also inviting participants to share photos and videos on social media using the hashtag #RaceatHome 

Graeme Sneddon, Cancer Research UK’s spokesman for Scotland, said: "The truth is, Covid-19 has slowed us down.  But we will never stop and we are absolutely determined to continue to create better cancer treatments for tomorrow."

  Sign up to Race for Life at Home at raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770.