LOS ANGELES, Calif. (November 1, 2022) – Celebrated “Star Trek” actor and director Jonathan Frakes (“Picard,” “Star Trek: Strange New World” Season 2, “Star Trek: Lower Decks” “Star Trek: Discovery”) is lending his voice to support the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s (PanCAN) annual Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month campaign launching today. This year’s campaign, titled “Research for All of Us,” encourages the nation to get involved in the fight against pancreatic cancer by sharing inspiring stories, including Frakes’, which highlight the urgent need for more research and donating to PanCAN to support pancreatic cancer patients and their families. PanCAN leads the way in accelerating progress for this disease by funding leading-edge research that is getting us closer to new discoveries. In the past two decades, PanCAN has invested $174 million in groundbreaking research. This past year alone, PanCAN awarded more than $10.5 million in research grants as part of the largest-ever, single year total research investment of $25 million.
As the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States and with a five-year survival rate of just 11%, pancreatic cancer demands urgent action to save lives. Historically, the survival rate for pancreatic cancer has been low because, with no early detection method and often only vague symptoms, it is typically diagnosed too late once the disease has already spread.
Frakes, who lost his brother Daniel to pancreatic cancer, understands the pain and fear the disease brings patients and their loved ones. This has driven his partnership with PanCAN and commitment to the cause. He also serves as a team leader, alongside fellow actors, Kitty Swink, an 18-year pancreatic cancer survivor, and her husband Armin Shimerman. They have raised thousands of dollars for the organization’s largest annual fundraiser, PanCAN PurpleStride, the ultimate walk to end pancreatic cancer.
Throughout November, PanCAN will run digital and broadcast public service announcements, promoting stories from pancreatic cancer survivors, researchers, caregivers, donors, and celebrities demonstrating how research is making a difference in the lives of those impacted by pancreatic cancer. The campaign will encourage the public to donate to PanCAN to honor those we’ve lost, give hope to patients fighting now and change the course of pancreatic cancer for everyone in the future.
“Twenty-four years ago I lost my best friend, my brother Daniel, to pancreatic cancer. His doctor gave him six to eight months to live, saying there was nothing that could be done for him. He died a week before my daughter was born,” said Frakes. “While there has been progress since Daniel was diagnosed, when the five-year survival rate was just 4%, we need more research for this disease. I want to do whatever I can to make a difference for other families affected by pancreatic cancer.”
“Pancreatic cancer does not discriminate and demands urgent action to save lives,” said Julie Fleshman, JD, MBA, president and CEO of PanCAN. “With no standard early detection test for pancreatic cancer, and few effective treatments available, ongoing funding of innovative research is crucial to solving this challenging disease. We encourage everyone to join the fight this month and make a donation to PanCAN today.”
PanCAN’s research investment includes funding more than 200 grants cumulatively to scientists across the country and large-scale research initiatives such as PanCAN’s Precision Promise℠ clinical trial, which seeks to accelerate the approval of new treatment options for pancreatic cancer patients and PanCAN’s Early Detection Initiative, with a goal of developing a strategy to diagnose pancreatic cancer early when surgery is still possible.
People can support the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network by visiting pancan.org. They can also participate in a free, virtual event on World Pancreatic Cancer Day (Nov. 17), when survivors, caregivers, and researchers will bring to life some of the incredible stories about the impact pancreatic cancer research and PanCAN has made on their lives. To register for free, go to pancan.org/WPCD2022.
About the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) leads the way in accelerating critical progress for pancreatic cancer patients. PanCAN takes bold action by funding life-saving research, providing personalized patient services and creating a community of supporters and volunteers who will stop at nothing to create a world in which all pancreatic cancer patients will thrive.