The family of a Birmingham man who died from pancreatic cancer are holding a charity concert to raise money to help cancer scientists at the University of Birmingham who are working to develop blood tests for liver and pancreatic tumours.

Funds raised for the Tony Turnbull Memorial Fund go directly to researchers at the University’s Institute of Cancer Studies who look for blood proteins that indicate the presence of cancer. The money is spent on “chips”, which are used to test individual blood samples for possible cancer markers.

The concert, which takes place on July 1st at the Church of St Peter and St Paul Aston Parish is the latest in a long line of fundraising projects organised by Tony’s family. Tony’s wife, Pauline Turnbull and two daughters have organised regular fundraising events for two years, including concerts and a forget-me-not ball.

 Tony was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2003. He was treated by specialists at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the University’s Institute for Cancer Studies. Despite several courses of chemotherapy, he died in November 2003.

Philip Johnson, Professor of Oncology and Translational Research at the University of Birmingham, who heads up the research group involved in biomarker discovery says: “We are hugely grateful for the fundraising efforts of all the Turnbull family. We also feel that it is exceptionally important that the money raised goes directly to fund work to improve diagnosis of cancers like that which killed Tony. One of the key difficulties in treating liver and pancreatic cancers is that people often don’t experience symptoms until the tumour is well developed. This makes identifying the disease earlier through blood testing a priority.”

Pauline Turnbull said: ‘’My husband always took an active part in the community and was always doing things for others as well as his family and friends. He was always appreciative of the treatment he received and would be pleased that we were helping to support this study. His death was a great loss to all of us and we hope that raising money to help Professor Johnson in his research will help improve early diagnosis.’’

A Summer Night of Song takes place at the Church of St Peter and St Paul – Aston Parish, Witton Lane, Birmingham ( near the Villa ground ) at 7.30pm on July 1. Tickets are £5 each and will be available on the door.


Notes to Editors

For further information or to arrange interviews, contact: Ben Hill, Press Officer, University of Brimingham, Tel: 0121 4145134, 07789 921 163.

Professor Johnson’s laboratory works on discovering chemical markers for liver, pancreatic, lung and colo-rectal cancers. Recent work, which was published in the British Journal of Cancer, has shown promising results in discovering markers that indicate the presence of liver and colon tumours.

British Journal of Cancer (2006) 94, 287-292. doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6602923 Published online 10 January 2006 Changes in the serum proteome associated with the development of hepatocellular carcinoma Ward DG, Suggett N, Cheng Y, Wei W, Johnson H, Billingham LJ, Ismail T, Wakelam MJ, Johnson PJ, Martin A. Identification of serum biomarkers for colon cancer by proteomic analysis. Br J Cancer. 2006 Jun 19;94(12):1898-905. Epub 2006 Jun 6.