Press Release 2/9/09

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February 9, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

THE PANCREATIC CANCER ACTION NETWORK CELEBRATES 10 YEARS OF LEADERSHIP AND SERVICE TO THE PANCREATIC CANCER COMMUNITY

EL SEGUNDO, Calif.– (February 9, 2009) – The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, the only national organization creating hope in a comprehensive way through research, patient support, community outreach and advocacy for a cure, celebrates ten years of progress and service to the pancreatic cancer community.

Since its inception in February 1999, the organization has grown from a small patient advocacy organization with one employee to a nationally recognized leader in the fight against the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States with more than 50 employees and two offices: headquartered in Los Angeles in El Segundo, Calif., and a Government Affairs office in Washington, D.C.  

“The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network grew out of frustration about the lack of useful resources available ten years ago for those facing pancreatic cancer and their families,” stated Julie Fleshman, president and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.  “Since that time, the organization has made tremendous progress in advancing research, supporting patients and creating hope. We are proud of the extent of services we now provide for patients and their families. We look forward to continued advancements towards a cure for this devastating disease.”

Highlights over the past decade include:

  • To date, nearly $5 million in research grants will have been awarded to 50 scientists around the country. Our Career Development Awards have helped to build a team of scientists dedicated to pancreatic cancer research and our Pilot Grants are helping to develop new and innovative ideas in research.
  • Through the years, our advocacy efforts have resulted in an increase of more than $55 million in federal research dollars for pancreatic cancer. This funding is available to researchers around the country. In addition, these efforts have resulted in the first substantive piece of legislation introduced in Congress regarding pancreatic cancer research: the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act. This legislation could lead to a program dedicated to pancreatic cancer at the National Cancer Institute and increased federal research funding to fight the disease.
  • More than 35,000 patients and their family members have received current and reliable information through our Patient & Liaison Services (PALS). Our comprehensive clinical trials database ensures that patients have access to the latest treatment options and leading-edge research.
  • Hundreds of supporters who are a part of 75 volunteer affiliates across the nation now raise awareness and funding for pancreatic cancer through our Community Outreach Program. Our volunteer network, which began with just a few individuals, is instrumental in encouraging people to take action again pancreatic cancer.

During the past few years, pancreatic cancer has been thrust into the national spotlight due to the diagnoses of newsmakers such as Carnegie Mellon University Professor Randy Pausch, PhD, actor Patrick Swayze, and most recently, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. These highly publicized cases help advocates in Washington, DC, to further the organization’s legislative goals and aid volunteers in heightening awareness of the disease. The increased visibility leads to increased research dollars and eventually better treatment options and renewed hope for patients.

This year, the organization will enlist its grassroots network of volunteer advocates to help ensure the federal government passes The Pancreatic Cancer Research and Education Act (H.R. 745). This bill is the first substantive legislative effort dedicated to advancing pancreatic cancer research and addresses the astounding mortality of this disease and the challenges facing the scientific community in understanding it. Once enacted and fully funded, the bill will create a greater focus on this disease and will provide the National Cancer Institute with the tools it needs to develop the diagnostic methods and treatments that are currently lacking for pancreatic cancer patients. 

Reflecting on research progress, Fleshman adds, “Although much work remains, incredible strides have been made in laying the basic scientific foundation upon which significant progress can be built. As this momentum builds, and new research developments emerge, those affected by pancreatic cancer have more reasons than ever before to feel optimistic.”

To learn more about the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, visit www.pancan.org.

About the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is the only national organization creating hope in a comprehensive way through research, patient support, community outreach and advocacy for a cure. The organization raises money for direct private funding of research—and advocates for more aggressive federal research funding of medical breakthroughs in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer.

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network fills the void of information and options by giving patients and caregivers reliable, personalized information they need to make informed decisions. We create a sense of hope and community so no one has to face pancreatic cancer alone. The organization helps support individuals and communities all across the country work together to raise awareness and funds to find a cure for pancreatic cancer.

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MEDIA INQUIRIES ONLY CONTACT:
Jennifer Rosen
Senior Manager, Public Relations
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
Direct: 310-706-3362
Email:jrosen@pancan.org

ALL OTHER INQUIRIES, PLEASE CALL THE PANCREATIC CANCER ACTION NETWORK AT 877-272-6226 OR EMAIL INFO@PANCAN.ORG.

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