MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif., March 3, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network commends the National Cancer Institute (NCI), under the leadership of Harold E. Varmus, M.D., for issuing a report that takes important steps needed to make significant advances for one of our nation's deadliest cancers. The report is a result of the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act, championed by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Leonard Lance (R-NJ), which was signed into law in January 2013, following a five-year push from the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and its nationwide grassroots network.
The report was made public this past weekend by the NCI well in advance of the July 2014 deadline required by the statute. The report focuses its recommendations on pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, which accounts for approximately 95 percent of all pancreatic cancer cases. It indicates there may be new funding opportunities that investigate the link between diabetes and pancreatic cancer, and describes a recently-announced initiative to develop drugs that target K-ras, a gene that is mutated in the vast majority of pancreatic cancer cases. The report also indicates there will be a program announcement for biomarkers for early detection of pancreatic cancer, which could lead to funded grants.
In addition, the report offers a commitment that "the Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network (CITN), which employs the collective expertise of expert academic immunologists together with the NCI, and foundation and industrial partners, will design and conduct cancer therapy trials with the most promising immunotherapy agents" in pancreatic cancer.
"We applaud the National Cancer Institute and Dr. Varmus for their work on this crucial report, which addresses questions that are critical to advancing research and improving pancreatic cancer patient outcomes," stated Julie Fleshman, president and CEO for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. "We look forward to working with the NCI and our colleagues in the pancreatic cancer community on implementing the recommendations and developing benchmarks to measure progress on achieving the recommendations and on critical issues like ensuring adequate availability of qualified researchers."
The report identifies the Pancreatic Cancer Action Planning Group (PCAPG) as the entity that will be responsible for measuring progress. "The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network has been a participant in PCAPG meetings in the past, and we look forward to the group's identification of appropriate benchmarks," added Fleshman.
The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network has long advocated to ensure that there is a national strategic plan and accountability for making progress toward improving the survival rate for pancreatic cancer. "The release of this report, the identification of priority research initiatives in pancreatic cancer, and the commitment from NCI to take specific action on these initiatives is a win for the entire pancreatic cancer community," said Fleshman.
To learn more about the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, visit www.pancan.org.
About the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is the national organization creating hope in a comprehensive way through research, patient support, community outreach and advocacy for a cure. The organization is leading the way to change outcomes for people diagnosed with this devastating disease through a bold initiative — The Vision of Progress: Double the Survival for Pancreatic Cancer by 2020. Together, we can know, fight and end pancreatic cancer by intensifying our efforts to heighten awareness, raise funds for comprehensive private research, and advocate for dedicated federal research to advance early diagnostics, better treatments and increase chances of survival.
SOURCE Pancreatic Cancer Action Network