2014

The Lustgarten Foundation Forms National Pancreatic Cancer Research Consortium Led By Six World-Renowned Medical Institutions

BETHPAGE, N.Y., March 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The Lustgarten Foundation announced today that it has formed a national pancreatic cancer research consortium, a collaborative effort involving six world-renowned medical institutions to advance the most promising research initiatives aimed at finding a cure for pancreatic cancer. Named the Pancreatic Cancer Research Consortium (PCRC), The Lustgarten Foundation will provide an initial $10 million in grants this year for research in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the fourth-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. The Lustgarten Foundation expects to contribute more than $25 million in funding to the consortium over the next several years.

This ambitious undertaking will be led by 11 leading cancer researchers at the following participating institutions:

  • Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
  • Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in affiliation with Harvard Medical School
  • The David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT
  • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
  • The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

As part of PCRC, the scientists will share knowledge, information, expertise and technologies in a coordinated effort. The consortium will make recommendations on how to allocate funds and assess the ongoing progress of the research being conducted. Additional funding decisions will be announced by the Foundation as they are determined.

"Our strategy of focused research has produced significant advances in understanding pancreatic cancer, including identifying the genes involved in this disease," said Dr. Robert Vizza, president of The Lustgarten Foundation. "The Pancreatic Cancer Research Consortium will build on these advances by bringing together exceptional scientists and institutions who will lead the field toward a cure for the deadliest of all cancers."

Four initial grants will support research in the following areas:

  • Early detection – A project led by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in collaboration with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, will develop a blood and fluid-based test to detect pancreatic cancer at an early stage, when it may be curable.
  • Genetic approaches to therapeutic targets in pancreatic cancer – A collaborative project based at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory will identify targets for new drug therapies based on genetic analysis. The research will combine comprehensive RNAi screening with pre-clinical studies in mouse models to identify genetic vulnerabilities in pancreatic cancer cells, making them promising targets for drug therapy.
  • Defining familial pancreatic cancer – An international project led by Johns Hopkins University will study the inherited causes of pancreatic cancer. The research will utilize the expertise that was part of the successful Genome Sequencing Project funded by The Lustgarten Foundation in 2008.
  • Comprehensive investigation of K-ras effector pathways – This investigation, led by MIT's Koch Institute in collaboration with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, will study a therapy targeted at the K-ras gene pathway. The K-ras gene is the most frequently mutated gene in pancreatic cancer.  

The PCRC is led by the following 11 premier pancreatic cancer research scientists:

-- James L. Abbruzzese, M.D.

Chairman, Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology

The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

-- Charles Fuchs, M.D., M.P.H.

Director, Gastrointestinal Cancer Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

-- Ralph H. Hruban, M.D.

Professor of Pathology and Oncology

Director, The Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Research Center

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

-- Tyler Jacks, Ph.D.

David H. Koch Professor

Director, Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

-- David Paul Kelsen, M.D.

Chief of the Gastrointestinal Oncology Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

-- Scott W. Lowe, Ph.D.

Professor, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

-- Robert J. Mayer, M.D.

Faculty Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Stephen B. Kay Family Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

-- David J. McConkey, Ph.D.

Professor, Cancer Biology and Urology

Deputy Division Head for Research, Division of Surgery

Director of Urological Research

The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

-- Eileen M. O'Reilly, M.D.

Associate Attending Physician in the Gastrointestinal Oncology Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

-- Bruce Stillman, Ph.D.

President, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

-- Bert Vogelstein, M.D.

Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Director, Ludwig Center for Cancer Genetics & Therapeutics

Clayton Professor of Oncology & Pathology, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins

The establishment of the PCRC by The Lustgarten Foundation is due in large part to Cablevision Systems Corporation, which made a multi-year commitment to underwrite all of the Foundation's administrative costs so that 100 percent of every donation to the Foundation can go directly to funding scientific research.

"We are extremely fortunate to have a corporate partner like Cablevision who is truly with us in this fight against pancreatic cancer," said Kerri Kaplan, executive director of The Lustgarten Foundation. "The amount of funding we're able to direct toward this effort is largely due to their financial support. We have great hope for the future thanks to the resources we've been able to allocate toward the establishment of this important collaboration."

About The Lustgarten Foundation and Pancreatic Cancer

The Lustgarten Foundation, based in Bethpage, New York, is America's largest private foundation dedicated solely to funding pancreatic cancer research. Founded in 1998, the Foundation provides critical support in the search for better diagnostics and treatment of pancreatic cancer, and to date has provided more than $32 million to more than 115 research projects at 41 medical and research centers worldwide.

The Lustgarten Foundation and Cablevision Systems Corporation, a leading media and entertainment company, together launched curePC, a public awareness campaign that uses Cablevision's high-profile assets to draw attention to the fight against pancreatic cancer. As part of this campaign, Cablevision made a multi-year commitment to underwrite all of The Lustgarten Foundation's administrative costs to ensure that 100 percent of every dollar donated to the Foundation will go directly to pancreatic cancer research. To learn more, visit www.curepc.org.  

SOURCE The Lustgarten Foundation



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