Results and Accomplishments

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EVALUATION OF RESEARCH GRANTS PROGRAM: PRIVATE FUNDING CREATES EXPONENTIAL PROGRESS

For every $1 invested by Pancreatic Cancer Action Network between 2003-2011, our research grant recipients have gone on to receive $9.93 in subsequent funding to support their pancreatic cancer studies.

Every grant recipient during that time has authored an average of 13 pancreatic cancer-related papers published in biomedical journals, and every paper has been read, built upon, and cited by other scientists an average of nearly eight times in other articles.

These results indicate that Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s research strategy is working and that we are building a critical mass of scientists working in the field of pancreatic cancer. It also clearly indicates that support of our research grants is leveraged almost ten times in additional pancreatic cancer research dollars ensuring our donors that their investment in our organization yields an incredible return. Due to our efforts more scientists are studying the disease and we now understand its biology better than ever before, building the foundation of knowledge necessary to translate into better diagnostic tools and improved treatment options. In addition to receiving support for their research project, our research grant recipients become part of a Community for Progress which helps them to leverage their research grant and connect with other researchers in the field who many times become collaborators and/or mentors.

Pancreatic Cancer Action Network rigorously evaluated our research grants program in early 2013, looking at grants awarded from 2003-2011. During that time, 66 grants were awarded totaling $9.15 million. With the methodology described below, we found that the scientists funded during that time were able to leverage our $9.15 million investment into $91 million in subsequent pancreatic cancer research funding.

Upon further analysis of the $91 million leveraged by Pancreatic Cancer Action Network grant recipients, we found that almost 58 percent of the funds came from federal sources, with 92 percent of that sum coming from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). This statistic indicates why Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s advocacy efforts are so important and why our herculean efforts to pass the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act were vital. The bill which was signed into law by President Obama on January 2, 2013 will ensure that the NCI creates a scientific framework for pancreatic cancer to accelerate progress and improve patient outcomes. We must continue our efforts to tell Congress that we cannot afford any cuts to the federal biomedical research funding that can save lives.

The remaining 42 percent of leveraged research dollars secured by our grantees came from private sources illustrating why Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s efforts to raise private research dollars are also extremely important. The grant recipients chosen each year understand the importance of both federal and private funding. Investment in Pancreatic Cancer Action Network builds the pool of private funding available to current and future pancreatic cancer researchers, while allowing us to advocate to make sure federal funding remains at a sufficient level to promote much-needed progress in the field.

Besides evaluating the subsequent funding received by our grantees, we also assessed the ability of our grant recipients to publish their work as another metric of success. Publication in peer-reviewed biomedical journals validates the credibility of scientists’ results and allows others to read and build upon their results. Our analyses showed that there is a ripple effect taking place – our grantees are doing solid work, publishing their results in prestigious journals, and being cited by other scientists. The 62 researchers who received grants from 2003-2011 authored an impressive 813 papers, many of which were published in high-tier journals. Other investigators are reading their work and building upon their results, exponentially enhancing our scientific knowledge about the disease, as evidenced by over 6,200 citations of the papers published by our grantees. This data also indicates that our grantees are staying in the field of pancreatic cancer and successfully contributing to our strategy to build a critical mass of researchers focused on the disease.

Pancreatic Cancer Action Network grant recipients’ dedication to the study of the disease and continued achievements in the field are a testament to the success of the organization’s strategic vision. Supporters of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network can rest assured that their investment is contributing to important scientific findings, being leveraged into impressive subsequent pancreatic cancer research, and promoting dissemination of results in biomedical journals that can then be used by other scientists in the field.

Whether you are participating in one of our many volunteer-driven events around the country, directly supporting a research grant, advocating for increased federal attention to the disease through our advocacy efforts, or any of the other ways that you can become involved with Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, your efforts are having an enormous impact and making a real difference in providing the resources necessary for researchers to be successful and enhance the breadth of knowledge about pancreatic cancer, helping us reach our goal of doubling the survival of pancreatic cancer by 2020.

Methodology:

  • The evaluation represents activities from one year following the grant award date to the first quarter of 2013.
  • Funding: We analyzed résumés provided by the grant recipients, utilized NIH Reporter, International Cancer Research Partnership database, and obtained information from private funders. Grant recipients had the opportunity to edit and approve their funding results.
  • Publications: We analyzed résumés provided by the grant recipients, and performed searches on PubMed, using the grantee’s name, designated years, and search terms related to pancreatic cancer. Grant recipients had the opportunity to edit and approve their publication results.
  • Citations: PubMed analyses of each publication provided information on how many times the paper had been cited.