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Lustgarten Foundation Announces $1.25 Million Commitment to Pancreatic Cancer Biomarker Development Project

Project is Aimed at Developing New Screening Methods and Holds Significant Potential for Early Detection Blood Test for Nation's 4th Leading Cancer

Killer - Biomarker Project holds significant potential for new screening and diagnostic interventions for the disease, including a blood test to detect

the disease before even the most sophisticated scans - Consortium, comprised of Canary Foundation, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, University of California at San Francisco and Van Andel Research Institute - Biomarker Development Project is expected to form the basis for future

studies evaluating antibodies for use in early detection tests, diagnostics, imaging, and therapeutic targets for the nation's fourth

deadliest cancer

BETHPAGE, N.Y., March 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, the largest private foundation dedicated exclusively to supporting pancreatic cancer research, will tomorrow hold a kick-off Consortium meeting in Chicago to launch a $1.25 million commitment to create antibodies for promising biomarker targets for pancreatic cancer, the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.

The Pancreatic Cancer Biomarker Development Project is a Consortium representing four leading cancer research organizations, including Canary Foundation, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, University of California at San Francisco and Van Andel Research Institute. The Project is expected to complete by the end of 2009. The Lustgarten Foundation is receiving support for the Project from the Harry T. Barbaris, M.D. Memorial Fund.

Said Dr. Robert Vizza, President of The Lustgarten Foundation, "Today, it is widely accepted that certain proteins (biomarkers) tend to be elevated in pancreatic cancer. Biomarkers show particular promise for the early detection of pancreatic cancer because they can be detected in the blood before even the most sensitive scans can find the disease."

Said Kerri Kaplan, the Lustgarten Foundation's Executive Director, "One of the most devastating aspects of pancreatic cancer is that far too often it is detected after it has spread. Ultimately, it is our hope that this Project will lead to the development of new diagnostic methods, and that screening for pancreatic cancer can someday be as simple as receiving a blood test in your doctor's office."

The Pancreatic Cancer Biomarker Development Project follows several recent major breakthroughs in other areas of pancreatic cancer research, which were partially funded by The Lustgarten Foundation.

-- In February 2007, Dr. Diane Simeone of the University of Michigan's

Comprehensive Cancer Care Center discovered that cancer stem cells are

present in pancreatic cancers. Though cancer stem cells make up less

than one percent of cancer cells, scientists believe they are the

driving force behind creating and replenishing malignant tumors.

-- In January 2007, The Lustgarten Foundation launched a multi-million

dollar initiative to sequence the genome of pancreatic cancers. The

Pancreatic Cancer Genome Sequencing will represent the most complete

genetic analysis of any tumor type, and is expected to lay the

groundwork for uncharted areas of pancreatic cancer investigation.

-- In December 2007, Dr. Teri Brentnall of the University of Washington

announced the discovery of a gene, which, when mutated, may cause

familial pancreatic cancer. The finding has promising implications for

better understanding the sporadic instances of pancreatic cancer that

occur in the general population.

About Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of all cancer deaths in the United States and the third leading cause of cancer deaths in individuals ages 40 to 60. Approximately 37,000 Americans are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year, and, each year, approximately the same number die from it. Often, pancreatic cancer is found too late for surgical intervention, and chemotherapy and radiation treatments have little effect.

About The Lustgarten Foundation

The Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research was founded in 1998 through the efforts of Marc Lustgarten, former Vice Chairman of Cablevision, who died of pancreatic cancer in 1999, and Charles F. Dolan, Chairman of Cablevision. Since its founding, The Lustgarten Foundation has awarded grants totaling $20 million in support of pancreatic cancer research. For more information regarding the Foundation, its work and the application process for grants, contact Ms. Kerri Kaplan, Executive Director, The Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, 1111 Stewart Avenue, Bethpage, N.Y. 11714; phone: 516-803-2304, fax: 516-803-2303, Web site:

SOURCE The Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research
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