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Second AGA Foundation/Bernard Lee Schwartz Foundation Research Scholar Award presented

The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Foundation for Digestive Health and Nutrition (FDHN) announced this year's recipient of the Bernard Lee Schwartz Foundation Research Scholar Award Kenneth P. Olive, PhD. The $225,000 gift from the Bernard Lee Schwartz Foundation will provide Dr. Olive with funding and protected time for three years to focus on basic science related to pancreatic cancer. Mr. Schwartz, a businessman and photographer, suffered from the disease and died in 1978 at the age of 64. His family has honored his memory by establishing this new three-year Research Scholar Award for pancreatic cancer research.

Dr. Olive has focused his research on digestive diseases, specifically towards identifying better treatment modalities for pancreatic cancer. He has already made several important research contributions, including first-authoring papers in Cell, Science, Cancer Research and Clinical Cancer Research. His research efforts have also been recognized by the American Association for Cancer Research and the National Institutes of Health.

Described by colleagues as an innovative investigator and an emerging star in the field of pancreatic cancer work, Dr. Olive will focus his research on the influence of hedgehog pathway inhibition on pancreatic cancer metastasis.

"The research support provided by the Bernard Lee Schwartz Foundation is helping to answer important questions in the study of pancreatic cancer," said Sidney Cohen, MD, AGAF, chair of the AGA foundation. "The research funded by the Bernard L. Schwartz Research Scholar Award in Pancreatic Cancer will continue to contribute to the advancement of our knowledge of the early detection and treatment of this devastating disease. We are most grateful for the Schwartz family's continued confidence in the research scholars of the AGA foundation."

This is the second Research Scholar Award in Pancreatic Cancer funded by the Bernard Lee Schwartz Foundation. The first recipient, Kenneth H. Yu, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania, has focused his research on identifying screening protein markers associated with pancreatic tumors, which will yield a test to detect the disease at an early stage.

"We think that bringing young, capable and innovative investigators to work on finding a cure for pancreatic cancer is a worthy endeavor and one which will yield results," said the Schwartz family. "AGA recognizes the critical need for new research talent, which is focused on this area, and we are delighted to be their partner in creating this research award. We believe that progress toward a cure for pancreatic cancer will come from the concentrated efforts of smart investigators who have the resources they need and enough dedicated time to do their work."

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths; more than 35,000 estimated deaths were expected to occur in 2009. More than 42,000 cases of pancreatic cancer were expected to be diagnosed in 2009. Currently, there are no methods for the early detection of pancreatic cancer; only 7 percent of cases are diagnosed in the early stages. The one-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer is 24 percent and the five year survival rate is 5 percent; when the disease is identified in the early states, the five-year survival is only 20 percent.


Contact: Alissa J. Cruz
American Gastroenterological Association

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