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Pancreatic Cancer is Target of New Precision Medicine Grants

In 2017, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is increasing its investment in innovative research and aiming to fund precision medicine and early detection initiatives.

By Nathan Boroyan

- The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is opening up opportunities to fund precision medicine and early detection initiatives in its 2017 round of research grants.

Pancreatic Cancer Action Network precision medicine and early detection grants.

In 2017, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is increasing investment in innovative research by 33 percent, to a record total of $12.8 million. The total will include the organizations Research Grants Program and internal research initiatives.

 “The pancreatic cancer research community has made tremendous strides in the past 15 years since we began funding research, but more must be done to accelerate progress for patients,” said Julie Fleshman, JD, MBA, president and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, in a press release. “These funding opportunities will continue to ignite the pancreatic cancer research community and create better outcomes for patients.”

Pancreatic cancer now results in more deaths than breast cancer, the Network says. By 2020, it is expected to become the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the country.

The Research Grants Program will offer a total of seven funding opportunities, which will support basic science, translational research and clinical studies. Specifically, organizational funding will target precision medicine and early detection research.

Funding of up to $1 million will be offered for both the early detection and precision medicine grants.

The early detection grant will support studies that use the National Cancer Initiative/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases cohort of new onset diabetics at a high risk of developing sporadic pancreatic cancer. Projects that receive funding will focus on blood biomarkers.

The precision medicine grant supports translational and clinically relevant projects identified as next steps for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network's Precision Promise initiative.

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is offering two grants in partnership with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research.

One is a two-year, $100,000 fellowship that will support a postdoctoral or clinical research fellow to conduct KRAS research specific to pancreatic cancer. The other is a need-based travel scholarship to support a researcher at any stage in his or her career, during or after the postdoctoral level, in visiting the NCI to pursue pancreatic KRAS research.

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network has invested more than $35.4 million in 142 grants to 55 institutions across the US in the past 14 years. In 2011, organization announced a goal to double the patient survival rate by 2020.

The organization's grant-making strategy is focused on building a pipeline of researchers whose focus is on pancreatic cancer research and accelerating the discovery of breakthroughs to benefit patients.

After the announcement of its goal to double the survival rate by 2020, the organization has introduced new grant mechanisms to speed discoveries. Among those is a grant mechanism to fund translation research.

Since 2014, the organization has funded 13 translational research projects.

The 2017 translational research grant will provide $300000 over two years to a project focused on developing a pancreatic cancer assessment, prevention, or treatment modality.

“Offering targeted grants is an exciting step in the evolution of the Research Grants Program,” said Steven Leach, MD, chair of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Scientific and Medical Advisory Board. “The comprehensive portfolio of funding opportunities allows the program to support leading-edge projects focused on two of the hottest topics in the field, as well as to continue to fund research spanning the trajectory from the laboratory bench to the clinic.”

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