American Association for Cancer Research

Pancreatic Cancer Action Network-AACR Research Acceleration Network Grant

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network-AACR Research Acceleration Network Grant provides $1,000,000 in total support for a research project implemented by a multi-institutional team that includes a clinical component with an endpoint relevant to improving the detection or treatment of pancreatic cancer.
 

2013 GRANTEES

Michael G. Goggins, M.D.Pancreatic Cancer Action Network-AACR Inaugural Research Acceleration Network Grant, in memory of Skip Viragh

CAPS multicenter trial: Imaging and markers for pancreatic cancer screening
  
Principal Investigator: Michael G. Goggins, M.D., professor of pathology, medical and oncology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

 

Co-Principal Investigators: Marcia Irene Canto, M.D., professor of medicine and oncology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD; Anil K. Rustgi, M.D., chief, Division of Gastroenterology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA


"The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network-AACR Research Acceleration Network Grant will provide much needed funding to enable our team to carry out a multicenter pancreatic screening trial. Since most patients with pancreatic cancer present with advanced disease, the best way to cure individuals who are likely to develop pancreatic cancer is to screen those at risk of developing pancreatic cancer while they are asymptomatic using the most accurate tests available. The goals of this trial are to evaluate clinical and research tests for their utility to identify precancerous and very early cancers in the pancreas that can be cured with appropriate therapy. We will screen individuals who have been identified as having a significantly increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer by virtue of having pancreatic cancer in multiple blood relatives. Generally, we will offer pancreatic screening to asymptomatic individuals who are over 55 whose family history indicates that their risk of pancreatic cancer may justify pancreatic screening. We will also offer screening to individuals who are carriers of mutations in pancreatic cancer susceptibility genes. The pancreatic screening tests we will perform include endoscopic evaluation of the pancreas with endoscopic ultrasound, pancreatic fluid collection and blood sampling to look for early signals of pancreatic cancer. We will compare our findings of screening individuals to patients who undergo pancreatic evaluation for other reasons, particularly those who have pancreatic cysts, but also those undergoing pancreatic evaluation for other reasons, such as suspected or known chronic pancreatitis.

"There is a critical need to perform pancreatic screening trials to determine how effective pancreatic screening is, who can benefit most from screening and which screening tests are most useful. This multi-center trial will enable pancreatic cancer screening to be offered at multiple centers throughout the US and allow us to enroll a large number of individuals who wish to undergo pancreatic screening. This multicenter screening trial would not be possible without the support of this PanCAN/AACR RAN grant."

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Robert H. Vonderheide, M.D., D.Phil.Pancreatic Cancer Action Network-AACR Inaugural Research Acceleration Network Grant, supported by Tempur-Pedic in memory of Tim Miller

Accelerating Development of CD40 Therapy for Pancreatic Cancer 

Principal Investigator: Robert H. Vonderheide, M.D., D.Phil., associate professor of medicine, associate director for translational research, Abramson Cancer Center of University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Co-Principal Investigator: Dafna Bar-Sagi, Ph.D., vice dean for science; professor, biochemistry and molecular pharmacology, New York University, Langone Medical Center, New York, New York

"This project aims to develop novel immune therapies for pancreatic cancer that circumvent the highly immune suppressive nature of this tumor and its surrounding stroma. The focus of the investigational approach is based on the cell-surface molecule CD40, a key immunological activator. The hypothesis of the work is that therapeutic antibodies against CD40 can be used with standard-of-care for patients with pancreatic cancer to drive the immune system to destroy the tumor in robust and durable ways. This RAN proposal is designed to accelerate development of a clinical grade CD40 antibody for treatment of pancreatic cancer, and raise the prospect of using this antibody to improve survival by engaging our patient’s own immune systems. In parallel to clinical studies, we will also work in the laboratory to discover other CD40-based immune therapies, exploiting a number of clues and tools already in hand, and thereby pushing forward in a 'bench to bedside' fashion. This Pancreatic Cancer Action Network-AACR Research Acceleration Network grant is an unprecedented and unique opportunity to achieve these goals."

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