Press Release 5/27/09

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May 27, 2009



EL SEGUNDO, CA – (May 27, 2009) – The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) will receive $18 million to research pancreatic cancer, Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) announced today. Dr. Daniel Von Hoff, TGen’s Physician-In-Chief, and Dr. Craig B. Thompson, Director of the Abramson Cancer Center at Penn, are co-leaders of SU2C pancreatic cancer “Dream Team,” which will lead a three-year investigation into new approaches to treating pancreatic cancer. Julie Fleshman, president and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network will serve as patient advocate of the pancreatic cancer Dream Team.

“The $18 million awarded today for pancreatic cancer is a significant step in the fight against pancreatic cancer, a disease that has seen very little scientific progress over the past few decades due to the lack of funding for research,” stated Fleshman. “I am honored to serve as patient advocate on the pancreatic cancer Dream Team and look forward to working with Dr. Von Hoff and Dr. Thompson as they begin this very important project.”

The $18 million to TGen and Penn was the largest single grant among five awards, totaling $74 million, announced by SU2C, a philanthropic group created by cancer scientists and members of the entertainment industry a year ago today to quickly turn scientific discoveries into ways to care for cancer patients.

The goal of the pancreatic cancer Dream Team research project – “Cutting Off the Fuel Supply” – is to develop tests, using advanced imaging techniques, to determine what nutrients pancreatic cancer cells require to fuel their growth and survival. Understanding the cell’s fuel supply will help scientists develop more individualized treatments with fewer side effects.

TGen and its clinical partner at TCRS will launch a series of innovative clinical trials in advanced pancreatic cancer. These clinical trials will be designed to deprive pancreatic tumors of crucial nutrients, thereby cutting off the fuel supply. Other clinical sites in the study are at Penn in Philadelphia and at John Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. In 2009, 42,470 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and 35,240 will die. The five year survival rate is 5 percent, making pancreatic cancer the most lethal among leading cancer killers.

The TGen-Penn team will combine translational methods developed at the University of Pennsylvania with individualized-therapies emphasized by TGen to rapidly move laboratory findings to bedside treatments, benefiting pancreatic cancer patients as quickly as possible. They will test the drugs in combination with existing standard chemotherapy, with the hope of improving quality of life while increasing the percentage of patients surviving beyond one year.

“This project is critical to extending the lives of pancreatic cancer patients; 75 percent die within the first year of diagnosis because of the lack of effective treatments,” added Fleshman. “We are hopeful the pancreatic cancer Dream Team can change this statistic through their collaboration.”

To learn more about the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, visit And, for more information on the other Dream Teams, visit

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 to work together to raise awareness and funds to find a cure for pancreatic cancer.

About Stand Up To Cancer
The Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) movement raises funds to hasten the pace of groundbreaking translational research that can get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives. In 2007, a group of women whose lives have all been affected by cancer in profound ways began working together to marshal the resources of the media and entertainment industries in the fight against the disease. For more information about Stand Up To Cancer, please visit


Jennifer Rosen
Senior Manager, Public Relations
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
Direct: 310-706-3362


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