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Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and AACR award research grants totaling nearly $3 million

ORLANDO, Fla. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and the American Association for Cancer Research awarded 10 grants to outstanding scientists throughout the country, supporting their innovative research in the field of pancreatic cancer. This year's total funding level of nearly $3 million represents the largest annual disbursement since the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network introduced the program in 2003. The recipients will be honored at a recognition event scheduled during the AACR 102nd Annual Meeting 2011, held April 2-6, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.

"These grants are crucial to promoting ongoing impactful pancreatic cancer research," said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of the AACR. "They encourage both young and experienced researchers to collaborate in an effort to make innovative breakthroughs to beat this devastating disease."

"This year's grants program marks a significant milestone over $10 million in research funding awarded by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network since our program's inception eight years ago," stated Julie Fleshman, President and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. "As we work to double the survival rate for pancreatic cancer by 2020, we are committed to building a comprehensive and coordinated pancreatic cancer research community to speed the acquisition of knowledge, share information and move findings into practice. We look forward to partnering with this talented group of new grant recipients."

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 2011 recipients are:

  • Jennifer M. Bailey, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine: "Stop the Start: Novel Insights into PanIN Initiation and Progression."

  • E. Scott Seeley, M.D., Ph.D., Stanford University: "Transport Proteins as Modifiers of Oncogenic Signaling in Pancreatic Cancer."

The 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 2011 recipients are:

  • Lisa A. Cannon-Albright, Ph.D., University of Utah: "Informative Linkage Analysis of High-Risk Pancreatic Cancer Pedigrees."

  • James R. Eshleman, M.D., Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine: "Identifying Familial Pancreatic Cancer Predisposition Genes."

  • Matthias Hebrok, Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco: "Role of miRNAs in Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma." (Grant in memory of Abby Sobrato.)

  • Hidde L. Ploegh, Ph.D., Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research: "Generation of Transnuclear Mice from Pancreatic Cancer Infiltrating T Cells." (Grant in honor of the Kovler Family.)

The 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. The 2011 recipients are:

  • Dimitrios Iliopoulos, Ph.D., Dana-Farber Cancer Institute: "Identification of Novel Molecular Circuits in Pancreatic Cancer Stem Cells."

  • Kenneth P. Olive, Ph.D., Columbia University Medical Center: "The Role of HIF1 and Hypoxia in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma." (Grant in honor of Tempur-Pedic Retailers.)

  • Jae-Il Park, Ph.D., The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center: "Telomerase in the Development of Pancreatic Cancer."

The 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 2011 recipient is:

  • Cosimo Commisso, Ph.D., NYU School of Medicine: "Pancreatic Cancer, Macropinocytosis and Nutrient Internalization." (Fellowship in memory of Samuel Stroum.)

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 deadly 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.


Contact: Michele Sharp
American Association for Cancer Research

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