Pancreas Matters letter, Lynn Matrisian

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Dear Pancreatic Cancer Action Network supporters:

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

News shared at a recent meeting held in San Francisco and organized by the American Society of Clinical Oncology confirmed that there is cause for the momentum that is now being felt throughout the pancreatic cancer community.

Contributing to this outlook was the release of the positive results of the Phase III clinical trial with ABRAXANE. In addition, a clinical trial conducted in Japan showed a drug called S-1 resulted in a significant increase in survival compared to gemcitabine alone when given to patients after surgery, although some believe the results may be limited to Asian populations. Another promising study indicated that tumor cells found in the bloodstreams of pancreatic cancer patients could be used to determine if the patients would respond to a particular treatment.

These advances stimulated considerable discussion among the gathering’s participants and many felt pleased that these new drugs and approaches may be used to form a foundation to continue to build more effective treatment regimens. Although the findings thus far have not achieved the breakthroughs we so desperately need, there continues to be a heightened dedication and a sense of urgency in the field, and scientists and clinicians believe that a critical mass of information has been compiled to lay the groundwork to accelerate advances.

We at the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network are extremely proud and excited about the important role that we have played in creating this momentum and helping to lay the foundation that will allow for scientific breakthroughs. We will continue to fund research grants and act as a convener of the scientific and medical communities to help and encourage them to accelerate progress. In addition, our advocacy efforts work to influence governmental agencies such as the National Cancer Institute to focus their attention on the disease.

Furthermore, our Patient and Liaison Services, or PanCAN Patient Services, program provides an avenue for us to hear about the unique issues that face pancreatic cancer patients. In turn, we communicate this information to the scientific and medical communities. We have a role on various national decision-making committees and our involvement ensures a constant reminder of the urgent need for rapid and strategic advancements as well.

We also rely on the expertise and wisdom of our outstanding Medical and Scientific Advisory Boards to guide us on interfacing with the research community. These board members serve in pivotal roles at prestigious academic and clinical institutions across the U.S. and give selflessly of their time and talent on our behalf. This year, we are pleased to announce that four new members joined our Medical Advisory Board:

James Farrell, MD, of Yale University;
George A. Fisher Jr., MD, PhD, of Stanford University;
Joseph M. Herman, MD, MSc, of Johns Hopkins University; and
Philip Agop Philip, MD, PhD, of the Karmanos Cancer Center.

We welcome their expertise and new perspectives on looking at the disease. We are delighted to have them join our family and look forward to interacting with them as we move towards our goal of doubling pancreatic cancer survival by 2020.

All the best,

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