Researchers Leverage Funding From Pancreatic Cancer Action Network To Continue High-Priority Research For One of the Nation’s Deadliest Diseases

MANHATTAN BEACH, CA (June 2, 2015) — A comprehensive evaluation of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Research Grants Program has shown that the organization’s grant recipients are leveraging their awards to impact the field of pancreatic cancer research.  Scientists are securing impressive subsequent funding to continue their work in high-priority pancreatic cancer research and publishing their results in widely-read biomedical journals.

The organization evaluated their Research Grants Program by looking at grants awarded from 2003-2013. During that time, 94 grants were awarded totaling $17.6 million to 92 researchers. The evaluation found that the scientists funded during that time were able to leverage the organization’s investment into $146 million in subsequent pancreatic cancer research funding. This means that for every dollar invested by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, grantees have gone on to secure an average of $8.28 in funding to support their pancreatic cancer research efforts. This and other key findings from the evaluation demonstrated that the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Research Grants Program is successfully shaping the pancreatic cancer research field and is actively bringing it closer to improving patient outcomes.

“The more than eight-fold return on investment demonstrates the highly-effective strategy of our Research Grants Program and a sound investment for our donors and corporate partners,” said Julie Fleshman, president and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. “However, pancreatic cancer research is still underfunded and there is an urgent need to increase federal and private funding for the disease. Significant progress has been made against other deadly diseases by having long-term vision, funding a wide variety of research and creating comprehensive research communities. Heart disease, breast cancer and other deadly diseases are less fatal today due to strategies that supported researchers over the long-term, connected their work and quickly brought discoveries into medical innovations and practices. Our organization is making sure the same thing happens for pancreatic cancer.”

Upon further analysis of the $146 million leveraged by Pancreatic Cancer Action Network grant recipients, the results show that 54 percent has come from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and an additional 6 percent from other federal sources. About one-third of the funding came from private sources, like the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, that are filling some of the critical gaps left by declining federal research budgets over the last decade.

In alignment with our organization’s goal to double pancreatic cancer survival by 2020, the Research Grants Program began to shift its portfolio from primarily funding basic science to enhanced support of translational and clinical research in 2013. Researchers now have sufficient foundational knowledge about the disease that next steps can determine if scientific findings can be translated into patient benefit.

“Pancreatic cancer is currently the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., but it is projected to become second by 2020,” explains Fleshman. “We have a strong sense of urgency to accelerate progress in this disease. Funding translational and clinical research will move us closer to our goal, while we also continue to support basic science and bring early-career investigators into the field.”

Another metric of success noted in the rigorous analysis was the grant recipients’ publications in high-tier journals. The 92 researchers who received Pancreatic Cancer Action Network funding from 2003-2013 have authored nearly 1,200 pancreatic cancer publications in peer-reviewed biomedical journals.  Other investigators are analyzing these studies and building upon their results, exponentially enhancing our scientific knowledge about the disease, as evidenced by over 13,000 citations of the papers published by the grantees.

“My Career Development Award opened up opportunities for me to collaborate and get mentorship from the brightest and most dedicated scientists in the field,” said Jonathan Brody, PhD, about his 2010 Career Development Award funded in honor of the legacy of Skip Viragh. Dr. Brody was able to leverage his $200,000 early-career grant into $1.7 million in subsequent funding from federal and other private sources. He was also awarded a prestigious $1 million Research Acceleration Network Grant from the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network this year, funding a personalized medicine-based clinical trial. “The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network provides a number of opportunities for a ‘new investigator’ and the pancreatic cancer community that the federal government or most nationally recognized agencies do not provide,” continued Dr. Brody.

In addition to receiving financial support for their research project, grantees participate in the organization’s Community for Progress, which provides connections and mentorships to leading scientists in the field. Ongoing career support activities offer opportunities for training, information exchange, collaborations and other professional development activities to help keep the pancreatic cancer community of researchers committed and involved.

For more information about the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and its Research Grants Program visit

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 survival for people diagnosed with this devastating disease through a bold initiative — The Vision of Progress: Double Pancreatic Cancer Survival by 2020. Together, we can Wage Hope in the fight against 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 and better treatments and increase chances of survival.

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Jennifer Rosen
Senior Manager, Public Relations
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
Direct: 310-706-3362