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A Message from the President and CEO

The guest columnist this month is our new Vice President of Scientific and Medical Affairs, Lynn Matrisian, PhD. With an extensive academic background in cancer research, Lynn has developed important relationships with scientists, clinicians and organizations that influence the pancreatic cancer community including the American Association for Cancer Research and the National Cancer Institute. We are delighted she has joined our team.

Julie Fleshman, JD, MBA
President and CEO
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

Dear Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Friends:

By several measures, January's inaugural National Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Trial Awareness Month was a great success. Our Patient and Liaison Services team received more than 600 calls seeking information about pancreatic cancer clinical trials searches, and the efforts of our staff and volunteers led to heightened awareness among the public about the importance of clinical trials, especially in the fight against pancreatic cancer.

While enrolling more patients in clinical trials will determine whether drugs under current investigation carry promise in the treatment of pancreatic cancer, we are also aware that new drugs and treatment strategies will be needed as we move forward. Research projects taking place in laboratories across the country offer the potential of enhancing our understanding of the biology of pancreatic cancer at all stages of the disease.

This knowledge will aid in the design and development of new clinical trials to treat pancreatic cancer, as well as uncovering new approaches to detecting, diagnosing, and potentially preventing it. We need to work together to make sure the right patients are treated with the right drugs at the right stage of their disease process.

The growing momentum in the pancreatic cancer research community is palpable. In January alone, three Pancreatic Cancer Action Network grant recipients published exciting findings about their investigations in major scientific journals. (Please click here for more information.) Their research and that of their fellow scientists enhances our understanding of the genetic signals necessary for the growth and maintenance of pancreatic tumors. The findings also help us learn more about the steps involved in the spread of the disease to other organs.

Such progress in the field is proof that the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network's strategy of building and sustaining a robust, comprehensive research community is succeeding. Collaborations are forming between scientists at various institutions, the American Association for Cancer Research is hosting its first special conference devoted to pancreatic cancer this year, and we are improving our understanding of all aspects of pancreatic cancer biology.

As we wage the war against pancreatic cancer, we need to assemble a strong army, equip them with the most powerful tools and resources available, and gather all the information necessary to discover the vulnerabilities of our enemy. With this approach, we can design and implement clinical trials and add new and better treatments to our arsenal.

I am honored to have joined the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network at this exciting time in its history, and am eager to be a part of this community as we move towards our goal of doubling the survival rate of pancreatic cancer by 2020.

All the best,

Lynn Matrisian, PhD
Vice President, Scientific and Medical Affairs
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network


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