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Jan 23, 2013

Pancreatic Cancer Research Gets $25M Boost

  • The Lustgarten Foundation has awarded $25 million in new multi-year research grants. The research initiatives and clinical trials are focused on developing early detection methods and better therapeutic options.

    “The Lustgarten Foundation is contributing this significant funding to accelerate the movement of successful research results from the lab into clinical trials, so we can directly impact the treatment of individuals with pancreatic cancer and develop life-saving tests and more effective therapies,” said David Tuveson, M.D., Ph.D., director of research for The Lustgarten Foundation.

    The new grants will support important research advancements at 18 scientific and medical institutions, including Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, The David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Part of this funding will go toward several new clinical trials to test ways of detecting the disease earlier since there are no early detection tests for pancreatic cancer. Another clinical trial will test a new approach to pancreatic cancer treatment through immunotherapy.

    Johns Hopkins’ Bert Vogelstein, M.D., and his team will conduct two trials aimed at developing diagnostic tests that would allow patients to take a simple blood test to check for pancreatic cancer and to know whether a pancreatic cyst is benign or malignant. Hadassa Degani, Ph.D., from the Weizmann Institute of Science will lead a trial focusing on the use of MRI technology in tandem with fluids to identify pancreatic cancer tumors with greater clarity at earlier stages. A trial led by Dr. Carl June and Dr. Gregory Beatty at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania will focus on altering and training a patient’s immune system to target and eliminate cancer cells.

    In November 2012, the new Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Research Laboratory opened at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Since its inception in 1998, the foundation has provided more than $65 million in support of pancreatic cancer research.

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