In a recent Forbes article, “She Was Given Three Years To Live. So She Transformed Cancer Research,” Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) president and CEO, Julie Fleshman, JD, MBA, applauded the efforts of Kathy Giusti, co-founder of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF).
Giusti was diagnosed in 1996 with the second most common blood cancer and only given three years to live. Determined to be her own best advocate, she founded the MMRF in 1998 with her twin sister, and the organization has since transformed the course of the disease and the cancer research landscape.
Just as MMRF has changed multiple myeloma, PanCAN has changed the course and landscape of pancreatic cancer. In the article, Fleshman said, “We don’t have to look like a traditional nonprofit. We’ve certainly looked to Kathy and the MMRF in being the leader in doing that.”
Last year, PanCAN joined forces with MMRF, the LUNGevity Foundation, the Metastatic Breast Cancer Research Alliance and the Prostate Cancer Foundation for the Harvard Business School’s Kraft Precision Medicine Accelerator – a collaborative cancer group on a mission to eliminate inefficiencies in precision medicine development to get targeted therapies to patients faster.
One of the reasons that Giusti was able to outlive her prognosis – by 20 years and counting – was referred to in the article as “luck.” That luck was based on specific biological characteristics of her cancer.
More and more evidence is supporting precision medicine efforts such as Giusti’s case – treating a person based on their tumor’s molecular profile, instead of the type of cancer or location in the body.
Every pancreatic tumor is different. PanCAN strongly recommends molecular profiling of your tumor to help determine the best treatment options.