March 27, 2012


Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and AACR Award Research
Grants Totaling More Than $3.4 Million

CHICAGO — The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and the American Association for Cancer Research awarded 14 grants to outstanding scientists throughout the country, supporting their innovative research in the field of pancreatic cancer.

This year’s total funding level of more than $3.4 million represents the largest annual disbursement since the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network introduced the program in 2003.

“Partnering with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is an incredibly satisfying experience. It has given us an opportunity to work with the spectacular professional staff there and has enabled us to help fund the most-promising, cutting-edge pancreatic cancer research to advance the field,” said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of the AACR. “These worthy projects have the potential to lead to major breakthroughs that will prevent, detect and treat pancreatic cancer, one of the most deadly of all cancers.”

In its mission to advance pancreatic cancer research, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network has collaborated with the AACR to promote and support outstanding research focused on conquering this dread 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 so impressed by the caliber of these 14 scientists and proud to fund their outstanding research projects. We are looking forward to engaging them with our organization and working together to help accelerate scientific breakthroughs,” said Lynn Matrisian, Ph.D., vice president of scientific and medical affairs at the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. “These grant recipients are joining a strong and dynamic collaborative community of researchers the organization has been developing since 2003 when we launched our grants program. Their findings will undoubtedly move us closer to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s goal of doubling the survival rate of pancreatic cancer by 2020.”

The recipients will be honored at a grants reception and dinner during the AACR Annual Meeting 2012, held here March 31 -- April 4.

The 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 in their postdoctoral, mentored research positions and continuing through their successful transition to independence. The 2012 recipients are:

  • Stephanie K. Dougan, Ph.D., Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
    “Transnuclear mice: Understanding the T cell response to pancreatic cancer”
    Supported by Celgene Corporation.
  • Oliver G. McDonald, M.D., Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University
    “Genome-wide epigenetic reprogramming during evolution of pancreatic cancer”
    Supported by The Daniel and Janet Mordecai FoundationThe 2012 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. The 2012 recipients are:

    • David A. Boothman, Ph.D., UT Southwestern Medical Center
      “NQO1-mediated ‘kiss of death’ targeted therapy for pancreatic cancer”
      Supported by the George & June Block Family Foundation
  • Paul J. Chiao, Ph.D., University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
    “TAK1 is a novel therapeutic target in pancreatic cancer” Supported in part by the Lefkofsky Family Foundation
  • Channing J. Der, Ph.D., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    “Mechanism of ERK inhibition resistance and ERK-dependent pancreatic cancer”
    Supported by Tempur-Pedic Retailers
  • Peter Espenshade, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
    “SREBP pathway as a target for pancreatic cancer therapy”
    Supported in memory of Bonnie L. Tobin
  • Tyler Jacks, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    “Mechanisms of K-RAS independent growth in pancreatic cancer”
    Supported by Blum-Kovler FoundationThe 2012 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:

    • Jiyoung Ahn, Ph.D., New York University School of Medicine
      “Oral microbiome and pancreatic cancer: A prospective case-control study”
      Supported by The Daniel and Janet Mordecai Foundation
  • Darren R. Carpizo, M.D., Ph.D., University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
    “Pre-clinical studies of a p53 mutant synthetic lethal compound in pancreatic cancer”
    Supported by The Daniel and Janet Mordecai Foundation
  • Eric A. Collisson, M.D., University of California, San Francisco
    “Optimizing MEK inhibition in pancreatic cancer; from cytostatic to cidal”
  • Mikala Egeblad, Ph.D., Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
    “Dynamics of tumor-stroma interactions in pancreatic cancer”
    Supported by The Daniel and Janet Mordecai Foundation
  • Kazuki N. Sugahara, M.D., Ph.D., Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute
    “Tissue-penetrating drug delivery to desmoplastic pancreatic tumors”
    Supported by The Daniel and Janet Mordecai Foundation
  • David Sung-wen Yu, M.D., Ph.D., Emory University
    “Exploiting the replication stress response in pancreatic cancer”The 2012 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. The 2012 recipient is:

    • Florencia McAllister, M.D., Johns Hopkins University
      “Role of inflammatory cells in early pancreatic tumorigenesis”
      Supported in memory of Samuel Stroum

    # # #

    Tara Yates
    American Association for Cancer Research
    (215) 446-7110
    In Chicago, March 31 -- April 4:
    (312) 528-8206

    Jennifer Reeves Rosen
    Senior Manager, Public Relations
    Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
    Direct: 310-706-3362
    In Chicago, March 31 -- April 3:
    (310) 460-8901

    Press registration for the AACR Annual Meeting 2012 is free to qualified journalists and public information officers:

    About the AACR
    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’s membership includes 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 18,000 attendees. In addition, the AACR publishes seven 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 individual and team science grants in cancer research that have the potential for 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

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    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
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