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A Message from the President and CEO

Our guest columnist this month is Anirban Maitra, MD, Professor of Pathology and Oncology at the
Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Maitra received a Pancreatic Cancer Action Network – AACR Career Development Award in 2004. Since getting his Pancreatic Cancer Action Network grant of $100,000, Dr. Maitra has secured more than $6 million in subsequent funding, and has authored many research papers, review articles, editorials, and book chapters devoted to pancreatic cancer. The overarching goal of the organization's research grants program is to attract and retain brilliant scientists with innovative ideas to the field of pancreatic cancer. Dr. Maitra's productivity and loyalty to the field exemplify the ongoing success of the research grants strategy. Dr. Maitra joined the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Scientific Advisory Board in July 2011.


Julie Fleshman, JD, MBA
President and CEO
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network




Dear Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Friends:

When I received my award from the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network in 2004, I was just beginning my career as a physician/scientist. At the time, I was grateful for this funding, since it allowed me to get my foot in the door to study pancreatic cancer. This grant gave me the opportunity to devote considerable time to studying the disease and to form fruitful collaborations with investigators who share this research interest. Science cannot be performed in isolation. Especially as a junior scientist, mentorship is critically important.

I am now in a position to serve as a mentor for several very promising early career scientists and physicians. I was especially thrilled to learn that Jennifer Bailey, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow who I
co-mentor, was awarded one of only two highly prestigious Pancreatic Cancer Action Network – AACR Pathway to Leadership Grants in 2011. Additionally, Zeshaan Rasheed, MD, PhD, recipient of the inaugural Tempur-Pedic Retailers – Pancreatic Cancer Action Network – AACR – Pathway to Leadership Grant in 2010, has recently been promoted from Medical Oncology Fellow to Assistant Professor in Oncology here at Johns Hopkins University. I am honored to now call him a colleague and collaborator and know that his grant has allowed his career in pancreatic cancer research to advance.

Over the years, I have maintained a close relationship with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
My experiences at Advocacy Day, Evening with the Stars gala, and other events always leave me extremely motivated to get back into the clinic and laboratory, and do my part to fight this challenging disease. I have also noticed how inspirational these events are to my research colleagues who do not regularly interact with patients or family members.

Putting faces to this disease – survivors, caregivers, and those who have lost loved ones – provides an important context to the work we are doing in the laboratory. I take great pride in knowing we all will play a critical part in reaching the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network's 2020 goal of doubling the pancreatic cancer survival rate.

Last year, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network reached an exciting milestone by surpassing
$10 million in research funding awarded since the program's inception in 2003. A total of $3.1 million will be distributed this year, the largest annual allotment to date. Not only will this funding directly advance research and bring us closer to a better understanding of the disease, but it will also expand the "family" of investigators created and fostered by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and further develop a comprehensive pancreatic cancer research community.

I am extremely grateful for the funding and support of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and its phenomenal donors and volunteers. I was very honored to be invited to serve on the organization's Scientific Advisory Board earlier this year, and I vow to continue to do my part in knowing, fighting, and ending this devastating disease.

With respect and gratitude,

Anirban Maitra, MD
Scientific Advisory Board Member

 

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Pancreas Matters/ July 2011/ Advocacy Day Success