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TGen Dr. Michael Barrett awarded $200,000 grant at national cancer conference in San Diego

PHOENIX, Ariz. April 8, 2014 The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) awarded a $200,000 grant today to Dr. Michael Barrett of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

Dr. Barrett, an Associate Professor in TGen's Clinical Translational Research Division, was one of 14 "outstanding scientists" across the nation named to receive a total of $5 million in grants for pancreatic cancer research.

The grants were announced during the AACR Annual Meeting 2014 in San Diego, April 5-9. With more than 34,000 members, AACR is the world's oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research.

Specifically, Dr. Barrett was one of five scientists to receive a 2014 Pancreatic Cancer Action Network-AACR Innovative Grant, "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."

Dr. Barrett's project, "Genomic drivers of therapeutic responses in metastatic disease," will investigate the molecular underpinnings of how and why pancreatic cancer spreads to other parts of the body.

"The fundamental hypothesis of this application is that distinct clonal tumor populations that arise during the natural history of pancreatic cancer mediate the clinical responses in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer," Dr. Barrett said.

"The vision of our work is to bring together advanced genome technologies and the clinical resources available through TGen and our various collaborators to make an immediate impact in the lives of patients with pancreatic cancer and other malignancies," said Dr. Barrett, who also is a consultant with the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center-Arizona.

The grants support research into high-priority areas in an effort to reach the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network's goal to double pancreatic cancer survival by 2020.

"The most promising science has been selected for funding through a rigorous peer-review process. This year's grant recipients hail from leading institutions throughout the country and range from early career investigators continuing to build the field of pancreatic cancer leaders to more senior scientists," said Julie Fleshman, president and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. "Their collective efforts have the potential to answer important questions that could lead to significant scientific advances for pancreatic cancer, and ultimately improve patient outcomes. We look forward to working with our new grantees and welcoming them to our team."

Pancreatic cancer annually takes the lives of more than 38,000 Americans, making it the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. A staggering 75 percent of those diagnosed die within the first year, and only 6 percent survive more than five years.

"Pancreatic cancer is among the most deadly of cancers," said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), and Chief Executive Officer of AACR. "With death rates steadily climbing over the past decade, more research into pancreatic cancer is urgently needed. The AACR is, therefore, proud to be partnering with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network to support cutting-edge scientific research projects that have the potential to lead to major breakthroughs in the prevention, detection, and treatment of this devastating disease."

Contact: Steve Yozwiak
The Translational Genomics Research Institute

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