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A Message from the President and CEO

Dear Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Friends:

On behalf of the entire Pancreatic Cancer Action Network family, I wish you and yours the warmest of holiday greetings. We want to express our deepest gratitude to you for your continued support as we remember those we have lost to the disease and remain hopeful about the future of pancreatic cancer research during this special time of the year.

As we approach the end of the first half of our fiscal year, I am pleased to recognize the considerable strides we are making as we continue to address the diverse needs of the pancreatic cancer community:
  • By April 2012, we expect to award 14 new research grants totaling more than $3.7 million in funding. The call for research applications closed at the end of November and we saw more applications across almost all of the grant mechanisms when compared to last year. This response illustrates the growing interest in studying pancreatic cancer and the urgent need from our scientific community to provide private research funding at a time when federal funding is lacking.

    Our grants, which are bestowed using a rigorous peer-review process, help ensure that we continue to develop a "critical mass" of investigators dedicated to studying pancreatic cancer. Our goal is to build a comprehensive pancreatic cancer research community of brilliant scientists and researchers who are working hard to find an early detection method and effective treatment options.

  • Our advocacy efforts resulted in an increase of $7 million in federal research funding in FY 2010 for pancreatic cancer through the National Cancer Institute when compared to funding in the FY 2009 budget. During the past decade, this funding increased by more than $75 million, thanks to our efforts. Such funding will produce even more dedicated researchers and allow them to continue and expand their work.

  • Our advocates across the country applied continuous pressure on their members of Congress to co-sponsor the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act (S. 362/H.R. 733). As a result, we have secured nearly one half of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate as co-sponsors of the bill. We hope this momentum will allow us to bring the bill to the floor for a vote soon. This critical legislation asks the National Cancer Institute to develop a long-term, comprehensive research strategy to fight the disease.

  • In the first half of this fiscal year, contacts to the Patient and Liaison Services (PALS) program increased by 5 percent compared to the same six months in the previous year and clinical trial searches increased by 112 percent. Since the launch of the PALS program in 2002, we have served nearly 60,000 patients and their family members. These services ensure that patients have access to the latest research and treatment options.

  • We provide support for the thousands of volunteers around the country who significantly raise visibility and awareness about pancreatic cancer through social networking sites like Facebook, where we now have nearly 48,000 friends and 76 local pages. In addition, 39 local Twitter pages have been created for the organization.

  • We continue to be inspired by our supporters and volunteers, whose community efforts to support the fight grossed $5.3 million from July 1 through November 30, 2011 and included 265 awareness and fundraising events across the country.
Recognition of the disease also advanced through National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month in November. From October 14, 2011 through November 30, 2011, 5,324 heroes signed on to become Volunteers for Progress and 75,000 visitors logged in at knowitfightitendit.org to learn more about the fight against pancreatic cancer. The organization generated nearly 1,000 media hits nationwide during the awareness campaign, including 300 promoting PurpleLight National Vigil for Hope, which was held on November 20. In addition, volunteers nationwide secured nearly 600 state, city and county proclamations recognizing November as Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.

We are thrilled to realize that our movement is growing and becoming more powerful and visible than ever before. I encourage you to stay involved and take action in December and beyond by continuing to visit www.pancan.org/volunteer and going to www.pancan.org/takeaction to tell your members of Congress to not leave Washington until they have taken action on pancreatic cancer legislation.

These incredible gains are due in large part to you, and we are sincerely appreciative for your many contributions. Your efforts enable us to invest in the same kind of comprehensive research strategy that produced medical breakthroughs in conditions such as heart disease and some other forms of cancer. More researchers, more investigations and more collaborations are the keys to speeding improved treatments, and eventually, finding a cure for pancreatic cancer.

I hope you will stay committed to knowing, fighting and ending pancreatic cancer throughout 2012. Although we have come a long way since our founding in 1999, we must maintain our focus. By remaining diligent, we can all look forward to achieving our goal of doubling the pancreatic cancer survival rate by 2020.

With warmest regards,

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


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Pancreas Matters/ July 2011/ Advocacy Day Success