A FATHER who lost his mum and dad to cancer has backed a charity’s bid to defeat pancreatic cancer.

Adam Coulson, 36, gave his support to Worldwide Cancer Research, which revealed a study in the USA had found a protein in the brain that played a role in the development and growth of the disease.

The announcement was made ahead of Pancreatic Cancer Day, which took place last Thursday.

Dr Edna Cukierman – associate professor at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia and co-director of the Marvin and Concetta Greenberg Pancreatic Cancer Institute – and her team have proven that Netrin-G1 [a protein involved with the development of neurons in the brain[ helps pancreatic cancer cells survive by protecting them from the immune system and supplying them with nutrients.

Mr Coulson, who lives near Longniddry and lost both his parents, Dave and Elaine, to cancer, said: “In November 2006, we lost my dad to pancreatic cancer.

“I was only 22, dad just 54.

“Sadly, there are some cancers that are simply not understood as well as others and more research is urgently needed in order to improve treatment outcomes and survival rates.”

His mum then passed away from bowel cancer in 2015.

Mr Coulson, who is a dad of two and works for National Museums Scotland, starred in an advert for Worldwide Cancer Research last year.

The advert called for more research into cancer and highlighted how he feared missing out on seeing his own daughter grow up, with Mr Coulson also becoming dad to a boy earlier this year.

From its base in Edinburgh, Worldwide Cancer Research starts bold new cancer cures throughout the UK and the rest of the world.

Since 1979, the charity has funded over £200 million worth of research in more than 30 countries.

In the UK, more than 10,000 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year and more than 9,000 people lose their life to the disease.

Pancreatic cancer has one of the worst survival rates of any cancer, with only about one in 20 people surviving for 10 years or more after diagnosis.

Only one in four people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the UK will survive beyond one year.

Dr Helen Rippon, chief executive of Worldwide Cancer Research, said: “This is a fascinating new finding in cancer research which shows for the first time how a molecule thought to be involved in the brain is also able to help tumours grow in organs elsewhere in the body.

“We’re delighted to see such great progress from Dr Cukierman’s project, which offers a starting point for the future development of treatments against a particularly deadly type of cancer.

“These positive findings come at a dark time for all of us and are a stark reminder of how dedicated our researchers are – working tirelessly towards new cancer cures, even amid a global pandemic.

“I’m sure this news will be welcomed by all of us who have had to experience the loss of a loved one to cancer.”

For more information about Worldwide Cancer Research or to make a donation, go to worldwidecancerresearch.org/donate