April 10, 2013


More Than $5 Million in Research Grants Awarded by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and AACR

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 10, 2013) — The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) awarded 14 grants totaling more than $5 million to outstanding scientists throughout the country, supporting their innovative research in the field of pancreatic cancer. In an effort to speed advances in the field, the organizations have awarded two Inaugural Research Acceleration Network (RAN) grants totaling $1 million each.

This year’s total funding level represents the largest annual disbursement since the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network introduced the program in 2003. To date, the organization has awarded 94 research grants to researchers at institutions around the country totaling nearly $18 million. This year’s recipients will be honored at a grants reception and dinner during the AACR Annual Meeting 2013, held in Washington, D.C., April 6-10.

“The AACR is delighted to be partnering once again with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network,” said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of the AACR. “It continues to be a pleasure to work with its President and CEO Julie Fleshman and other dedicated staff on the scientific review and administration of grants that fund cutting-edge research projects with the potential to lead to major breakthroughs that will prevent, detect and treat pancreatic cancer, one of the most deadly of cancers. We are especially excited about the Research Acceleration Network grants, as they are new grants promoting the kind of collaborations that are vital to accelerating research progress.”

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States and has a five-year survival rate of just 6 percent. In its mission to advance pancreatic cancer research and improve patient outcomes, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network has collaborated with the AACR to promote and support outstanding research focused on conquering this deadly disease. The goals of the grants program are to build a robust pancreatic cancer research community; to encourage collaboration, information-sharing and innovation; and to expedite scientific and medical breakthroughs for patient benefit.

“We are thrilled to be able to expand our research portfolio this year to include the two inaugural RAN grants and to award such outstanding research projects as we work toward the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s goal to double the survival rate of pancreatic cancer by 2020,” said Lynn Matrisian, Ph.D., vice president of scientific and medical affairs at the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and newly inaugurated Fellow of the AACR. “Since 2003, the organization has created a robust community of pancreatic cancer researchers and we look forward to integrating these new researchers into our team.”

The 2013 Pancreatic Cancer Action Network-AACR Inaugural Research Acceleration Network Grants are three-year grants totaling $1 million each. These grants offer strategic funding and project management services to a high-priority project already under way within the pancreatic cancer research community. This year’s recipients are:

  • Michael G. Goggins, M.D., Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md.;
    Marcia Irene Canto, M.D., Johns Hopkins University; and
    Anil K. Rustgi, M.D., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia,
    “CAPS Multicenter Trial: Imaging and Markers for Pancreatic Cancer Screening,”
    Supported in memory of Skip Viragh
  • Robert H. Vonderheide, M.D., D.Phil., University of Pennsylvania and
    Dafna Bar-Sagi, Ph.D., New York University, New York, N.Y.
    “Accelerating Development of CD40 Therapy for Pancreatic Cancer,”
    Supported by Tempur-Pedic in memory of Tim MillerThe 2013 Pancreatic Cancer Action Network-AACR Pathway to Leadership Grants are five-year grants totaling $600,000 each. These grants are designed to support the future leadership of pancreatic cancer research by funding outstanding early-career investigators beginning their postdoctoral, mentored research positions and continuing through a successful transition to independence. This year’s recipients are:

    • Costas A. Lyssiotis, Ph.D., Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Mass.,
      “Exploration and Targeting of Metabolic Dependencies in Pancreatic Cancer”
  • Yuliya Pylayeva-Gupta, Ph.D., New York University,
    “Immunomodulatory Mechanisms in Kras-driven Pancreatic Cancer and Metastasis”The 2013 Pancreatic Cancer Action Network-AACR Innovative Grants are intended to promote the development and study of novel ideas and approaches in basic, translational, clinical or epidemiological research that have direct application and relevance to pancreatic cancer. These two-year grants provide $200,000 over the grant term. This year’s recipients are:

    • Yves Boucher, Ph.D., Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston,
      “Targeting Desmoplasia in Pancreatic Cancer to Improve Drug Efficacy,”
      Supported by the Sobrato Family in memory of Abby Sobrato
  • M. Celeste Simon, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania,
    “Role of Hif1a in Inflammation, Tissue Repair and Cancer of the Pancreas”
  • Timothy Cragin Wang, M.D., Columbia University, New York, N.Y.,
    “Dclk1 in Pancreatic Tumorigenesis”
  • Valerie M. Weaver, Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco,
    “Interplay Between Tension and Inflammation in Pancreatic Tumor Progression,”
    Supported by the Blum-Kovler FoundationThe 2013 Pancreatic Cancer Action Network-AACR Career Development Awards are two-year grants of $200,000 that are designed to attract and support early-career scientists as they conduct pancreatic cancer research and establish successful career paths in the field. This year’s recipients are:

    • Eric R. Lutz, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University,
      “Exploiting the Cancer Mutome for Personalized Tumor Immunotherapy”
  • Andrew D. Rhim, M.D., University of Pennsylvania,
    “Using Human Circulating Pancreas Cells as a Biomarker for Early PDAC”
  • Pankaj Kumar Singh, Ph.D., University of Nebraska, Omaha,
    “Targeting a Novel Metabolic Chemoresistance Mechanism in Pancreatic Cancer”
  • Daolin Tang, M.D., Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, Pa.,
    “Role of HMGB1 in Pancreatic Cancer Initiation and Progression”<
  • Monte M. Winslow, Ph.D., Stanford University, Calif.,
    “Molecular Dissection of Hmga2 Function During Pancreatic Cancer Progression,”
    Supported in memory of Skip ViraghThe 2013 Pancreatic Cancer Action Network-AACR Fellowship is a one-year grant of $45,000 designed to support a postdoctoral investigator’s work in pancreatic cancer research. This year’s recipient is:

    • Andrew J. Aguirre, M.D., Ph.D., Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Mass.,
      “Validation of Novel KRAS Synthetic Lethal Targets in Pancreatic Cancer,”
      Supported by Cynthia Stroum in memory of Samuel Stroum

    # # #


    Jennifer Reeves Rosen
    Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
    (310) 706-3362
    In Washington, D.C.,
    April 7-10, 2013:

    (310) 460-8901


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    About the American Association for Cancer Research
    Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is the world’s first and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research and its mission to prevent and cure cancer. AACR membership includes more than 34,000 laboratory, translational and clinical researchers; population scientists; other health care professionals; and cancer advocates residing in more than 90 countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise of the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, biology, diagnosis and treatment of cancer by annually convening more than 20 conferences and educational workshops, the largest of which is the AACR Annual Meeting with more than 17,000 attendees. In addition, the AACR publishes eight peer-reviewed scientific journals and a magazine for cancer survivors, patients and their caregivers. The AACR funds meritorious research directly as well as in cooperation with numerous cancer organizations. As the scientific partner of Stand Up To Cancer, the AACR provides expert peer review, grants administration and scientific oversight of team science and individual grants in cancer research that have the potential for near-term patient benefit. The AACR actively communicates with legislators and policymakers about the value of cancer research and related biomedical science in saving lives from cancer. For more information about the AACR, visit www.AACR.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 increase the survival rate for people diagnosed with this devastating disease through a bold initiative — The Vision of Progress: Double the Pancreatic Cancer Survival Rate 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.

    Click here to meet these grant recipients and learn more about their funded projects.

    Follow the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network on Twitter: @pancan
    Follow the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pancan