Pedal the Cause receives a boost in the fight against cancer - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Pedal the Cause receives a boost in the fight against cancer

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Pedal the Cause, which is an organization that uses cycling events to raise money for cancer research, has big news. Five new research projects are being funded - all in the name of fighting cancer.

The pancreas is one of those body parts most of us know you need, but don't really know what it does.

"It makes digestive enzymes. These are the proteins that help us digest out food so we can absorb it for our nutrition. The second thing it does which people are commonly familiar with, it makes insulin and other hormones which help regulate our blood sugar to their proper level," Dr. Andrew Lowy of the UCSD Moores Cancer Center said.

What you also might not know about the pancreas is that 38,000 people -- including Steve Jobs, Patrick Swayze and Luciano Pavarotti -- die every year from pancreatic cancer.

"Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States," Lowy said.

Lowy and his colleagues at the UCSD Moores Cancer Center are teaming up with Dr. Geoffrey Wahl and the Salk Institute to hopefullyone day soon cure pancreatic cancer. They're work is cutting edge, so it's doubtful they'd get federal money to finance it., and even if they did, it would take years to see the cash.

But thanks to adedicated group of bicycle riders including our own Natasha Stenbock, cancer researchers are no longer spinning their wheels trying to get the money they need. It's called Pedal the Cause -- a two-day bicycle fundraiser with 100 percent of the proceeds staying right here in San Diego County to fund cancer research. On Thursday, $425,000 raised in last September's ride was handed out to doctors working on five different cutting edge projects. It's money that was greatly appreciated.

"You can get the money to the researchers, and then get results very fast. In fact, faster than anything I've ever seen," Wahl said.

Wahl hopes the treatment they're working on is in clinical trials in about two years.

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