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MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) and thousands of the organization’s volunteers and advocates applaud Congress for its bipartisan work to pass the 21st Century Cures Act to provide critical funding for the Cancer Moonshot initiative. The passage of the 21st Century Cures Act provides a boost to cancer research funding by authorizing $1.8 billion over the next seven years to directly support the initiatives of the Cancer Moonshot. This funding is meant to be allocated on top of funding provided to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Cancer Institute (NCI) through the regular appropriations process. “The funding that will be available as a result of the 21st Century Cures Act for the NIH offers new hope to all cancer patients,” said Megan Gordon Don, vice president of Government Affairs and Advocacy at the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. “We applaud Senators Lamar Alexander, Patty Murray and Representatives Fred Upton and Diana DeGette for their tireless leadership to ensure that the final bill includes authorization of funding for the Cancer Moonshot initiative.” Much of the Cancer Moonshot’s focus, including immunotherapy and molecular profiling, align with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s key initiatives, such as Precision Promise and Know Your Tumor™. Both programs rely on precision medicine to help patients and their medical team make informed, personalized treatment decisions based on the biology of their tumor. “The 21st Century Cures Act will help ensure that this important work on immunotherapy, personalized medicine and other vital research opportunities will move forward quickly to benefit patients,” added Gordon Don. “We urge President Obama to enact the legislation without delay and urge Congress to ensure that the authorized funds are included in the FY 2017 Continuing Resolution.” Pancreatic cancer is the deadliest major cancer in the United States with a five-year survival of only 8 percent. The disease is the third leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. and anticipated to become the second by 2020. Take action against pancreatic cancer by learning more at pancan.org. Follow the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network on the Latest News blog, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) is the global leader accelerating the pace of research progress for one of the world’s deadliest cancers. With an urgent mission to improve outcomes for pancreatic cancer patients and double survival by 2020, the organization, founded in 1999, executes a bold and comprehensive strategy to Wage Hope through research, patient services, advocacy and community engagement. The organization’s visionary goals, world-class programs and services, extensive grassroots network, patient-focused outcomes and advisory board of scientific and medical leaders, provide the critical backdrop to help pancreatic cancer patients today and create transformational change for all patients in the future.


News Article | December 7, 2016
Site: www.prweb.com

A new study published in the just-published "Oncotarget" peer-reviewed medical journal has concluded that “in the setting of previously treated, advanced pancreatic cancer, liquid biopsies are not yet an adequate substitute for tissue biopsies. Further refinement in defining the optimal patient population and timing of blood sampling may improve the value of a blood-based test.” The study was conducted by a team of researchers and clinicians from Perthera, Inc., a precision medicine company based in McLean, VA, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN), Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center of Georgetown University, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Ohio State University, City of Hope Cancer Center, Virginia Mason Medical Center, and the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University. The study is entitled "a pilot study evaluating concordance between blood-based and patient-matched tumor molecular testing within pancreatic patients participating in the Know Your Tumor (KYT) Initiative." Know Your Tumor is a benchmark precision cancer therapy program of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network that is executed by Perthera. The study asserted that “molecular profiling of the tumor itself should remain the gold standard,” or as approved by the FDA. Liquid biopsies can "go wrong" in a variety of ways: mainly because the tumor isn't dumping DNA into the blood, or because the detection assays aren't sensitive enough to detect the DNA when it is too low in abundance to see. The investigators assessed the ability of the circulating genomic information obtained from a blood sample of 34 consecutively screened pancreatic cancer patients with metastatic disease to accurately recapitulate the genomic information obtained by direct analysis of a tumor biopsy obtained from the same patient taken at the same time. They used the high frequency of KRAS mutation (~90%) in pancreatic cancer as a benchmark for comparison, and they found that KRAS mutations “were only detected in 10/34 (29%) blood samples, compared to 20/23 (87%) tumor tissue biopsies." Dr. Jonathan Brody, the last author on the study and Director of Surgical Research and Co-director of the Jefferson Pancreas, Biliary and Related Cancer Center and on the scientific advisory board at Perthera, cautioned that "the results of this study should give people some pause; we need to be very careful about the state of the liquid biopsy field right now." He said, "we need to be very circumspect- in this study, we detected DNA with KRAS mutations in only a third of the patients that you should see the genomic alteration, so what does it say about being able to reliably detect actionable alterations that doctors would use to make critical treatment decisions?” Dr. Michael Pishvaian, the first author of the study and Perthera’s CMO as well as the Director of the Phase I Clinical Program and Co-Director of the Ruesch Center Pancreatic Cancer Program at Georgetown University added that “there will be times when a tumor biopsy is unable to be performed due to medical issues, and then could a liquid biopsy be considered. Pishvaian says: “There are papers that show good but not perfect concordance between the genomic information in tumor samples and blood samples, and our study in pancreatic cancer reveals something different. Some of the disparate results from these studies come from differences in the clinical aspects of the patients studied, but ultimately if liquid biopsies are to be used routinely for precision medicine applications then the field needs more improvements.” In the meantime, Emanuel “Chip” Petricoin, PhD, Perthera’s Chief Science Officer said, “Central to Perthera’s medical philosophy is that the patient should have as extensive molecular profiling as relevant, and blood-based testing will be great to add to our arsenal of testing options as it becomes more reliable and sensitive. So, we are committed to implementing molecular profiling technologies that have the best evidence of impact to patients' precision cancer therapy outcome and we will be constantly monitoring the state of the field on this topic. As the liquid biopsy technologies and approaches improve and become more sensitive, then we can validate them and implement them." ABOUT PERTHERA, INC.: Perthera is a founder- and venture-backed precision medicine company based in McLean, VA, that has achieved more than 1,000 case histories since it was founded about five years ago, often working in an alliance with cancer advocacy agencies as well as hospitals, community oncology practices, and academia. In every patient instance, the Company seeks to become the precision medicine partner on their cancer care team, providing the widest, deepest, and most independent range of service possible.


News Article | October 7, 2016
Site: www.technologyreview.com

In an effort to give pancreatic cancer patients more treatment options, a patient advocacy organization is testing the idea that individuals should be given different choices based on the genetic characteristics of their tumors. The study, called Precision Promise, will help provide much-needed evidence about the value of precision medicine and, in particular, the value of sequencing tumors as a way of prescribing the most effective treatment. Some 41,780 Americans die from pancreatic cancer every year, and the survival rate over five years is just 8 percent. Current treatment options include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, but these have varying success rates. What's unknown is how patients with different mutations in their tumors will respond to new types of treatment that are more tailored to individual patients than these traditional approaches. Patients who enroll in the trial, run by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, will have samples of their tumors collected through a biopsy. Investigators will then perform DNA sequencing on the tumor samples, a technique that will be able to reveal mutations that may be responsible for the cancer. On the basis of that information, patients will be divided into different treatment groups, says Lynn Matrisian, chief research officer at the cancer organization. For example, patients harboring mutations in BRCA, a gene involved in DNA repair that has also been linked to breast and ovarian cancer, will be given a treatment to repair that mutation. Another treatment will target patients with high levels of a molecule called hyaluronan around their tumors. For patients whose tumors don’t fit in those categories, a third approach is available—immunotherapy to kill cancer cells. When the trial opens in spring 2017, it will initially offer these three treatment options. But investigators plan to add additional treatment arms once more patients join. That way, if one treatment doesn’t work for someone, that patient can quickly move to another. The trial will eventually enroll thousands of patients at 12 sites around the country. The National Cancer Institute’s MATCH trial, a bigger precision-medicine project, is trying to answer some of the same questions for a variety of cancer types. The trial, which launched in August 2015, is conducting genomic testing on 5,000 study participants to guide them into treatments that match their genetic profile. Robert Comis, cochair of the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group, which designed the MATCH trial with the National Cancer Institute, says investigators are looking for genetic mutations that are present in different cancer types and trying to determine whether those mutations can be treated the same way regardless of tumors’ location in the body. Comis thinks we’re likely to see more such trials in the future as drug developers take advantage of cheaper and faster sequencing technology to help them find new drug targets. But he acknowledges that there are substantial costs involved.


Kenner B.J.,Kenner Family Research Fund | Fleshman J.M.,Pancreatic Cancer Action Network | Goldberg A.E.,Kenner Family Research Fund | Rothschild L.J.,Kenner Family Research Fund
Pancreas | Year: 2015

A meeting of North American Pancreatic Cancer Organizations planned by Kenner Family Research Fund and Pancreatic Cancer Action Network was held on July 15-16, 2015, in New York City. The meeting was attended by 32 individuals from 20 nonprofit groups from the United States and Canada. The objectives of this inaugural convening were to share mission goals and initiatives, engage as leaders, cultivate potential partnerships, and increase participation in World Pancreatic Cancer Day. The program was designed to provide opportunities for informal conversations, as well as facilitated discussions to meet the stated objectives. At the conclusion of the meeting, the group agreed that enhancing collaboration and communication will result in a more unified approach within the field and will benefit individuals diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. As a first step, the group will actively collaborate to participate in World Pancreatic Cancer Day, which is planned for November 13, 2015, and seeks to raise the level of visibility about the disease globally. © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


News Article | November 15, 2016
Site: www.prweb.com

Drs. John Paul Gallardo and William P. Lamas are joining the fight against pancreatic cancer by supporting Lauren’s Face the Day Purple Day 2016 event set for November 17, 2016. The event is being planned entirely by volunteers who live and work in the local Coral Gables, FL community and have been affected by the disease. The South Florida periodontists and dental implant specialists will be donating a free comprehensive dental evaluation as well as Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum toothbrush kit for one raffle winner. One hundred percent of the funds raised in the event will be donated to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network to help advance research, support patients, and create hope. Because periodontal disease has been linked to heart disease, strokes, diabetes, respiratory diseases, pregnancy complications, and pancreatic cancer, it is important for the doctors to raise awareness and funds to fight the disease. In fact, researchers have discovered that men with periodontal disease are 54 percent more likely to develop pancreatic cancer. “As a healthcare provider, we have an obligation to make our patients aware of the significant impact that oral health can have on other systems in the body,” said Dr. Gallardo. Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of the major cancer killers, yet it receives the least amount of federal research funding. Seven years ago the co-founder of Lauren’s Face the Day, Alan Sales, was diagnosed with stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. The team at Lauren’s Face the Day Spa decided that a change needed to be made and Purple Day was founded. Although Alan lost his battle, Lauren’s Face the Day continues the tradition with an evening event at the Spa that hosts live entertainment, food, wine, raffle prizes and an auction. For the last few years, the events have raised over $25,000.00 for Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Drs. Gallardo and Lamas each have an extensive background in periodontics and implant dentistry. Dr. Gallardo attended the University of Miami, New York University, and Boston University. Dr. Lamas is an alumnus of Barry University, the Florida College of Dentistry, and Baylor College of Dentistry-TAMUS. Both doctors are avid educators, routinely lecturing at conferences, both nationally and around the world. The doctors also offer a wide range of continuing education programs for students and dental providers in southern Florida. To learn more about Drs. Gallardo and Lamas click here. New patient consultations with Dr. Gallardo and Dr. Lamas are free. As an added service, the patient coordinator will run a courtesy benefits check during the initial appointment, then review all payment options and financing choices.


MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--More patients die annually from pancreatic cancer than breast cancer in the United States, yet general awareness of pancreatic cancer is lacking. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network urges the nation to shift from pink during breast cancer awareness month in October to purple this November in support of pancreatic cancer awareness month by learning about the symptoms and risk factors of pancreatic cancer. Thanks to years of research and advocacy in the breast cancer community, breast cancer patients have better treatments options, screening tools and early detection which have resulted in a decline in death rates. “Our nation must rally behind pancreatic cancer patients in the same ways we have for breast cancer patients,” said Julie Fleshman, JD, MBA, president and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. “To improve outcomes and see death rates decline in pancreatic cancer, we must educate more people about the disease.” Knowing the symptoms and risk factors are important to raising awareness about pancreatic cancer and a tangible action that people can take during awareness month this November. Pancreatic cancer may cause only vague unexplained symptoms. Pain (usually in the abdomen or back), weight loss, itching with jaundice (yellowing of the skin and/or eyes), loss of appetite, nausea, change in stool, pancreatitis and recent-onset diabetes are symptoms that may indicate pancreatic cancer. If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network urges you to speak to your doctor immediately and reference pancreatic cancer. If you have two or more first-degree relatives who have had pancreatic cancer, a first-degree relative who developed pancreatic cancer before the age of 50, or an inherited genetic syndrome associated with pancreatic cancer, you may have an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network strongly recommends consulting with a genetic counselor to determine your risk and eligibility for a screening program. “By taking action through education this November, you are helping change the future of this disease,” added Fleshman. “Help us spread the word.” Learn more about pancreatic cancer, additional risk factors and how to support the cause this month at pancan.org/wagehope. Follow the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network on the Latest News blog, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is the national organization creating hope in a comprehensive way through research, patient support, community outreach and advocacy for a cure. The organization is leading the way to increase survival for people diagnosed with this devastating disease through a bold initiative — The Vision of Progress: Double Pancreatic Cancer Survival by 2020. To continue to accelerate progress, a goal to raise $200 million by 2020 is also in place. Together, we can Wage Hope and rewrite the future of pancreatic cancer.


Engebretson A.,Pancreatic Cancer Action Network | Matrisian L.,Pancreatic Cancer Action Network | Thompson C.,Celgene
Pancreatology | Year: 2015

Background/Objectives: Pancreatic cancer (PC) can have an enormous psychological toll on those affected by it. This study evaluated patient and caregiver perceptions about diagnosis and daily life with PC. Methods: The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) administered a 25-minonline survey (funded by Celgene) between July 30 and September 18, 2013 to patients with PC and caregivers whose loved ones were alive or had died within the past 6 months. Results: There were 397 respondents (all in the US) including 184 patients (81 with metastatic disease) and 213 caregivers (145 with loved ones with metastatic disease); 80% of patients reported having a primary caregiver. Over 90% reported symptoms before diagnosis, the most common of which being acute abdominal pain, pain radiating into the back, and fatigue. Gastroenterologists were the diagnosing physician in 36.3% of cases. The mean duration from symptom onset to diagnosis was 2.4 months. The most common action taken by diagnosing physicians was referral to another physician (57.7%). No treatments were offered for 9% of patients with nonmetastatic disease and 17% of patients with metastatic disease. The most commonly reported caregiver roles were providing support on treatment days and talking to physicians. A greater percentage of caregivers than patients recognized the various roles played by caregivers. Patients aware of the PanCAN Patient and Liaison Services (PALS) program reported fewer negative emotions than PALS-unaware patients. Conclusions: This study provides insights into the issues patients and caregivers in the US face and the importance of support services for both. © 2015 IAP and EPC.


PubMed | Celgene and Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Pancreatology : official journal of the International Association of Pancreatology (IAP) ... [et al.] | Year: 2015

Pancreatic cancer (PC) can have an enormous psychological toll on those affected by it. This study evaluated patient and caregiver perceptions about diagnosis and daily life with PC.The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) administered a 25-min online survey (funded by Celgene) between July 30 and September 18, 2013 to patients with PC and caregivers whose loved ones were alive or had died within the past 6 months.There were 397 respondents (all in the US) including 184 patients (81 with metastatic disease) and 213 caregivers (145 with loved ones with metastatic disease); 80% of patients reported having a primary caregiver. Over 90% reported symptoms before diagnosis, the most common of which being acute abdominal pain, pain radiating into the back, and fatigue. Gastroenterologists were the diagnosing physician in 36.3% of cases. The mean duration from symptom onset to diagnosis was 2.4 months. The most common action taken by diagnosing physicians was referral to another physician (57.7%). No treatments were offered for 9% of patients with nonmetastatic disease and 17% of patients with metastatic disease. The most commonly reported caregiver roles were providing support on treatment days and talking to physicians. A greater percentage of caregivers than patients recognized the various roles played by caregivers. Patients aware of the PanCAN Patient and Liaison Services (PALS) program reported fewer negative emotions than PALS-unaware patients.This study provides insights into the issues patients and caregivers in the US face and the importance of support services for both.


Rahib L.,Pancreatic Cancer Action Network | Smith B.D.,University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center | Aizenberg R.,Pancreatic Cancer Action Network | Rosenzweig A.B.,Pancreatic Cancer Action Network | And 2 more authors.
Cancer Research | Year: 2014

Cancer incidence and deaths in the United States were projected for the most common cancer types for the years 2020 and 2030 based on changing demographics and the average annual percentage changes in incidence and death rates. Breast, prostate, and lung cancers will remain the top cancer diagnoses throughout this time, but thyroid cancer will replace colorectal cancer as the fourth leading cancer diagnosis by 2030, and melanoma and uterine cancer will become the fifth and sixth most common cancers, respectively. Lung cancer is projected to remain the top cancer killer throughout this time period. However, pancreas and liver cancers are projected to surpass breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers to become the second and third leading causes of cancer-related death by 2030, respectively. Advances in screening, prevention, and treatment can change cancer incidence and/or death rates, but it will require a concerted effort by the research and healthcare communities now to effect a substantial change for the future. © 2014 American Association for Cancer Research.


PubMed | Van Andel Research Institute, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and Cedars Sinai Medical Center
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Oncogene | Year: 2016

Breast cancer (BCa) bone metastases cause osteolytic bone lesions, which result from the interactions of metastatic BCa cells with osteoclasts and osteoblasts. Osteoclasts differentiate from myeloid lineage cells. To understand the cell-specific role of transforming growth factor beta (TGF-) in the myeloid lineage, in BCa bone metastases, MDA-MB-231 BCa cells were intra-tibially or intra-cardially injected into LysM(Cre)/Tgfbr2(floxE2/floxE2) knockout (LysM(Cre)/Tgfbr2 KO) or Tgfbr2(floxE2/floxE2) mice. Metastatic bone lesion development was compared by analysis of both lesion number and area. We found that LysM(Cre)/Tgfbr2 knockout significantly decreased MDA-MB-231 bone lesion development in both the cardiac and tibial injection models. LysM(Cre)/Tgfbr2 knockout inhibited the tumor cell proliferation, angiogenesis and osteoclastogenesis of the metastatic bones. Cytokine array analysis showed that basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) was downregulated in MDA-MB-231-injected tibiae from the LysM(Cre)/Tgfbr2 KO group, and intravenous injection of the recombinant bFGF to LysM(Cre)/Tgfbr2 KO mice rescued the inhibited metastatic bone lesion development. The mechanism by which bFGF rescued the bone lesion development was by promotion of tumor cell proliferation through the downstream mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)-extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)-cFos pathway after binding to the FGF receptor 1 (FGFR1). Consistent with animal studies, we found that in human BCa bone metastatic tissues, TGF- type II receptor (TRII) and p-Smad2 were expressed in osteoclasts and tumor cells, and were correlated with the expression of FGFR1. Our studies suggest that myeloid-specific TGF- signaling-mediated bFGF in the bone promotes BCa bone metastasis.

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