Gutenberg Test Page

Possible drug target for pancreatitis

 Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that accounts for 275,000 hospitalizations in the United States annually. Patients who suffer from hereditary pancreatitis have a 40 to 50 percent lifetime risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Dannielle Engle, a former Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) Cancer Center postdoctoral fellow who was recently appointed Assistant Professor at Salk Institute, studies the progression of pancreatitis to pancreatic cancer. She has focused on a potentially powerful biomarker, a chemical structure created by complex sugar molecules called CA19-9, since CA19-9 is elevated in patients with pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.

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Hope For Pancreatic Cancer Patients

After multiple Emmy award-winning “Jeopardy!” host, Alex Trebek, announced that he had stage 4 pancreatic cancer, the news has drawn attention to the disease and raised questions related to the latest advances in diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer.

Dr. Aaron Sasson, director of the Pancreatic Cancer Center at Stony Brook University and chief of the Surgical Oncology Division, said little has changed when it comes to a doctor’s ability to diagnose the cancer any earlier.

“But we have made improvements in imaging of pancreatic cancer,” he said. “That is, the quality of CT scans and MRIs has improved over the years.”

Kerri Kaplan, president and CEO of the Lustgarten Foundation, said the disease has been “notoriously difficult” to detect and treat. The organization is dedicated to pancreatic cancer research.

“Although great strides are being made to detect pancreatic cancer earlier, this disease has few warning signs and vague symptoms that may range from back pain, fatigue and loss of appetite, amongst others,” she said in an email.

Kaplan added, “Even when there are early signs and symptoms, they may easily be attributed to other illnesses. Because of this, patients are often diagnosed when the cancer is at an advanced stage or has spread to other organs — making them ineligible to undergo surgery, which is the best chance at long-term survival.”

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I love you, Mom:
A Living Tribute

As told by Stacy Waldman Bass

Receive a copy of the e-book

In partnership with the Lustgarten Foundation, donors who contribute $75 or more to the I love you, Mom initiative will receive an e-book version of this book as an acknowledgment of your contribution to this worthy cause and in gratitude of your kindness and support of my project and my mom.  A link to download your copy will be emailed beginning on Mother’s Day.

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When I began this project, my hopes for it were somewhat modest, but important.  I shared images from my mother’s life on Facebook — tiny slices of her then almost 74 years as a daughter, a summer camper, a counselor, a student, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a friend, a teacher, a philanthropist, a passionate theatregoer, and a lover of language (to name only a few). I had hoped to create a living and breathing portrait, one that would both delight and remind my mom of the wonderful life she had lived and the range of people she had impacted and influenced.  I also had hoped that in sharing these images, each day from February 1, 2018—one month after her diagnosis of metastatic pancreatic cancer— until January 13, 2019, the day following her woefully untimely death, I could somehow create and fuel a community of supporters to nurture those memories and to engage my mom in an online conversation that could buoy her spirits and positively occupy her time.  I set out to harness the immediacy, range, and force of social media for good.  And it worked.

There were moments along the way when I began to believe that the swelling force of the movement that formed around her over the year could somehow change the course of her prognosis or, at the very least, extend her time.  I think she believed that, too.  The love and positivity that flooded in her direction, from near and far, from “likes” and “loves” to comments and questions, was so empowering and transformative that maybe, just maybe, it could work.   The digital conversation quickly spilled offline and my mother was supported in ways unimaginable by many she knew and loved and many more that she did not.

I Love You, Mom

When I started the project, my mom asked how long I thought I might do it and in those first terrifying days, I was honestly thinking “for as long as you live”–fearing the accelerated pace of the cancer—but wanting so much to be optimistic, I instead said “for a year.  Let’s start with that.” And in that one instant, a goal was born.  Let’s make it a year.  One year. Please, at least one year.

Every day, my mom woke up looking for “her” post: curious and excited to see what image I’d chosen and what I might write about it; eagerly anticipating the interest and engagement of the community; enthusiastically responsive to questions and comments.  And true to form, while she might call me to gratefully acknowledge a particular post or to clarify my query about a date or time, she also never hesitated to point out an errant typo or mischaracterization which I would then quickly remedy.

This living tribute changed things.  Her thinking shifted. As did mine.  Through the process, and my intense absorption in it, I had the chance to fall in love with my mom anew. I grew to see her as a whole person, a complete and multifaceted woman who was my mother, but also so much more.  It gave me a more refined appreciation for the nuances of her life, the choices she made, the challenges she faced.  I saw strength where before I’d seen only softness.  Layers and layers of lovely that I may have taken for granted, now shone through.

I spent a fair amount of time daydreaming that when she reached that milestone one-year mark, I would make a book of the accumulated posts. It would be a gift for her, a small but beautiful treasure, to have and to hold. I thought that together, we could celebrate the victory of both the medicine and memories and marvel at the extraordinary community that blossomed around her.  That part was not to be.

This story, like far too many stories of cancer, did not have a happy ending.  And though most days still, this plain fact is unbearably and heartbreakingly sad, I nonetheless still found myself wanting or needing to make that book; and to find a way to redirect the gift that was intended for my mom to others who are still fighting, and who could still prevail.  And so, this book, in honor and in memory of my extraordinary mom, Jessica Friedman Waldman, is now a mission and one that I believe is a critical one:  to help fund groundbreaking, life-changing research to defeat cancer, and in particular the pancreatic cancer that took her from us.  In partnership with the Lustgarten Foundation, the leading-edge pancreatic cancer research group, and its collaboration with Stand Up To Cancer, donors to the I love you, Mom initiative will receive an e-book version of this book as an acknowledgment of their contribution to this worthy cause and in gratitude of your kindness and support of my project and my mom.

What follows is a slightly curated version of this almost year-long project.  I hope that in reading it, you will not only learn about my mother or my journey or my loss but that, like so many who followed along, day by day, you will be similarly inspired: to be grateful for and expressive about the relationships in your life—with your own mother, or daughter, or sister or friend; to mindfully nurture and attend to those relationships and to cherish the simplicity and beauty of the everyday.

Every day that you can.

Stacy Pamela Waldman Bass

Learn more about Stacy

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View Some of the Heartfelt Facebook Posts

I love you, Mom Stacy Bass

2.1.18 I love you Mom. ❤

Since the first of the year, we have been trying to digest the sobering news that my spectacular, beautiful, amazing mom has pancreatic cancer. Each new test or procedure has created new obstacles and staggering complexities and with them, growing anxiety, sadness, anger, depression. The feeling of being unable to do anything meaningful to make a difference is excruciating, numbing. Last night, as I lay awake, again in tears, I tried to figure out some positive affirmation that I could do or offer every day— to will her to the other side of this terrifying disease; to inspire her to beat the odds, crush the statistics, to survive and thrive.

And so, I’ve decided that each day, I will share a picture of my mom— to breathe new life into moments past and to celebrate how much she is loved; to build strength and to fortify a community of support, for her. While many of the photos I will share aren’t mine (and the photographer is unknown)—since photography is my meditation, my prayer, my gift and my offering…maybe sharing these images IS what I can do. While medicine does what it can.

Facebook, like all social media, has flaws but one unequivocal strength is connectedness. I am not sharing this to elicit comments or empathy but instead, in hopes that whatever good, whatever power, whatever positivity it puts out into the universe will find its way back to my Mom, and exponentially so. And she will feel that love.

Starting with this favorite……
I love you, Mom.

I Love You, Mom!

3.8.18 I love you Mom ❤

That’s me, learning to ride a bike, with a committee of encouraging fashionistas. So much color and pattern and…. always so much love.

I Love You, Mom!

3.26.18 I love you Mom ❤
There’s something simply amazing about seeing your parents –before they were your parents. Right? This swoonworthy pic really makes me smile.

I Love You, Mom!

3.28.18 I love you Mom ❤ and HAPPY HAPPY 74th BIRTHDAY!
Any pictorial retrospective about you would incomplete without this AMAZING image. I don’t remember when I first saw it….but I remember clearly that it was that moment that I was able to acknowledge that my mom was ALSO this incredible, surprisingly bold, playful, quietly confident and spectacular WOMAN. And it made me both very proud and even a little jealous. Gutsy move. Maybe Dad wasn’t the adventurous one after all.

I Love You, Mom!

5.3.18 I love you Mom ❤
College days. 1964ish. Turning heads all over campus. Loving the dark(er) hair and the sweet but sultry vibe.

I Love You, Mom!

10.31.18 I love you Mom ❤
52 years ago today, you were finishing up 19 hours of labor and so hoping I’d arrive just before Halloween. Alas, I wasn’t in much of a rush and truly, despite countless jokes about “trick or treat” or wearing my “birthday suit” to a costume party, having a birthday on Halloween has been mostly an embarrassment of riches — presents, candy and cake all in one delirious sugar-soaked day. I confess it’s not the happiest birthday for me today— focused instead on your health and supporting you in every way I can. Nonetheless, I am ever grateful for that hard work you did all of those years ago, and every day since to be the very BEST mom this little pumpkin could ever ask for.

I Love You, Mom!

11.1.18 I love you Mom ❤
And love how you “showed up” for all of us yesterday — with such strength and such spirit. Highlight of my birthday was seeing you like this — bright, beautiful and buoyant. Not giving up. Not broken by this cancer. THAT, and the perfectly executed version of Granny’s Mac and Cheese, a visit from Michael and so many astoundingly loving and kind messages, cards and gifts made it a small but nonetheless happy birthday. No cake but lots of wishes…

I Love You, Mom!

12.2.18 I love you Mom ❤

After seeing Green Book last night, impossible to resist sharing more images from that unforgettable 1960 night — when you won a date with pop legend Bobby Darin at the Copacabana. What a lucky guy to spend the evening with 16-year old YOU. I wish I could have been there, too.

Related Topics

Learn more about how to cope with pancreatic cancer.
Important information for caregivers.
Learn more about addressing end of life care.
Learn more about early detection.

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New Chief Medical Advisor

Internationally Renowned Cancer Immunologist Elizabeth M. Jaffee, M.D. Joins the Lustgarten Foundation

The Lustgarten Foundation announced today the appointment of Elizabeth M. Jaffee, M.D., the immediate past president of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), as its new Chief Medical Advisor. Dr. Jaffee is an internationally recognized expert in cancer immunology, with specific expertise in preclinical and early clinical development of immunotherapies for pancreatic cancer.

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Funding Artificial Intelligence Research

New Tools For Detecting and Treating Pancreatic Cancer

The Pancreatic Cancer Collective, the strategic partnership of Lustgarten Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) is funding two new million-dollar grants for computational approaches to identifying high-risk pancreatic cancer populations. The grant money will be used to develop new ways of identifying people who are at high risk for developing pancreatic cancer that will be based on their health records.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a term that refers to machines that are programmed to mimic human reasoning. The goal of AI is to learn from failure and be able to provide the best recommendation for a specific subject. Whether it be solving equations, finding the best treatment options for cancer patients, or aiding in vehicle autonomy, AI is becoming a powerful resource across multiple industries.

“From diagnosing pancreatic cancer to determining which treatment approach may be best for each patient, we believe the field of AI holds great promise for patients and their families,” stated David A. Tuveson, MD, PhD, Lustgarten’s chief scientist, director of the Cancer Center at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and co-scientific leader of the Collective.

The two teams will each pursue a different approach to identifying individuals in the general population who are at high risk for pancreatic cancer. One will use molecular and genetic data taken from a variety of datasets to identify new and accessible ways to identify high-risk individuals. The other focuses on identification of high-risk individuals by applying machine learning analysis to real world data comprising radiological images, electronic medical records, and information collected by physicians. Each team will receive up to $1 million over two years.

Related Topics:

Learn more about the Pancreatic Cancer Collective
Find a screening program 

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New Therapies Challenge Grant

 

Lustgarten Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer, strategic partners in the Pancreatic Cancer Collective, offer comments on research published today in the journal Nature Medicine which describes a new therapeutic approach with promise for patients with pancreatic cancer. These researchers discovered a combination drug therapy that may effectively combat the disease. Based on this research, Martin McMahon, PhD, a cancer researcher at Huntsman Cancer Institute and professor of Dermatology at the University of Utah has received a Pancreatic Cancer Collective New Therapies Challenge Grant.

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Northwell Health Announces Sponsorship

Northwell Health a Presenting Sponsor of Five Walks

We are pleased to announce that Northwell Health Cancer Institute will be a presenting sponsor for our five Lustgarten Pancreatic Cancer Research Walks in the New York metropolitan area. With the support of Northwell Health, we will raise even more awareness and funding for pancreatic cancer research at our upcoming walks in New York City, Westchester, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Long Island.

Our walks offer patients, survivors, and loved ones a day of hope where everyone is united in the shared goal of bringing awareness to this challenging disease. Together with Northwell Health, we are determined to raise critical funds for pancreatic cancer research and improve the survival outcomes for patients.

Northwell Sponsorship LI Walk

The Northwell Health Cancer Institute is in the early stages of developing a comprehensive pancreatic cancer center. The program’s major components will include surgical, radiation and medical oncology, interventional gastroenterology, pathology, radiology, endocrinology, palliative oncology, cancer genetics, nutritional counseling, social work and other services.

If you live in the New York metropolitan area, we encourage you to attend one of our five Northwell Health-sponsored walks, visit the Northwell Health tent on site, and learn more about our joint commitment to  changing patients’ lives and working toward a cure for pancreatic cancer.

Read the press release.

Learn more about pancreatic cancer, including information on diagnosis, treatment options, and clinical trials.

Walk For Research

Where 100% of Every Dollar Raised Goes Directly to Pancreatic Cancer Research.

New York City  |  March 31st
Pier 62-63 at Hudson River Park

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Westchester  |  April 28th
Rye Playland Park

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Brooklyn  |  July 21st
Marine Park Carmine Carro Center

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Staten Island  |  September 8th
Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk Beach

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Long Island  |  October 6th
Jones Beach State Park

Register Now!

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Alex Trebek’s Announcement

“Keep the faith and we’ll win.” — Alex Trebek

Alext Trebek Jeopardy host

On March 6th, television icon Alex Trebek, who has hosted Jeopardy, America’s Favorite Quiz Show®, since 1984, announced that he was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer in a video posted to the show’s official YouTube account. On behalf of our community of patients, caregivers, researchers, loved ones and survivors all impacted by this disease, we are sending Mr. Trebek our thoughts and best wishes for his treatment and recovery.

Mr. Trebek joins more than 56,000 other Americans who will be diagnosed this year. Pancreatic cancer is often called a silent disease because many times no signs or symptoms are noticed until the cancer is in an advanced stage, when surgery is typically not an option and effective treatments are limited.

Mr. Trebek is not letting this prognosis discourage him from fighting. As he shares in his video message, “I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease…Keep the faith and we’ll win. We’ll get it done.”

At the Lustgarten Foundation, we are relentlessly focused on “getting it done.” Pancreatic cancer research is moving faster than ever before, and there has never been a more hopeful time for patients. The researchers we fund are committed to identifying new treatments and tailoring therapy to each patient. We are dedicated to changing patients’ lives and making sure that many more patients become long-term survivors.

Today and every day, we stand with Mr. Trebek, his loved ones and fans, and the thousands of other patients courageously fighting this disease and inspiring us to support even more research. Please know we are with you as you navigate through this disease, and we will not quit until a cure is found.

 

Related Topics:

Find the help you need through these resources.
Read about the research we are funding in drug development.
Learn more about our mission and milestones.

Related Media:

KWWL.com:  Pancreatic Cancer Remission Rates Remain Low
Boston25 News:  Dana-Farber Pancreatic Cancer Specialist Talks Symptoms, Treatments for Disease
News12:  Longtime ‘Jeopardy’ Host Alex Trebek Announces Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosis
PIX 11:  Fight for Survival

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Survivor Stories

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Pancakes for a Purpose

The event’s founders did a fantastic job during their segment on WBTV News to talk about their 9th annual Pancakes for a Purpose event on Saturday, February 23rd at Blackfinn Ameripub – Ballantyne in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The event is in memory of Dave Anstadt and John Bradley, who both lost their fight with pancreatic cancer. All proceeds will benefit the Foundation.

This year, raffle items include a wine tasting at Total Wine, golf at Ballantyne Country Club, and gift cards to Sugar Creek and Oriental Trading, among many other prizes. Purchase tickets now!

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Stand Up To Cancer Summit

Leading Cancer Researchers Coming Together to Collaborate

Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) hosted its 9th annual Scientific Summit in Santa Monica, CA where all of its funded researchers gather to provide updates, new grants are awarded and proposals are reviewed.  It’s a dynamic and inspiriting three days where more than 300 top scientists come together to discuss breakthroughs and updates in cancer research.

The Lustgarten Foundation is proud to be a part of this important meeting. Since 2012, we have built a robust and illustrious collaboration with SU2C, jointly funding 209 investigators across 31 leading research centers in both the United States and the United Kingdom, which is now the Pancreatic Cancer Collective.

The Collective scientists — comprised of 14 teams (three dream teams,  nine research teams and two convergence teams) are investigating pancreatic cancer in the field of immunotherapy, early detection, interception and new therapies. Two invited speakers, Dr. Brian Wolpin, head of our dedicated research lab at Dana Farber, and Dr. David Ryan, medical oncologist at Mass General Hospital and leader of one of the research teams, shared their novel data about a model risk for pancreatic cancer and the first pancreatic cancer clinical trial enrolling patients to be treated at home.

Additionally, during the summit, the Collective grants review committee evaluated proposals for Computational Approaches to Identifying High-Risk Pancreatic Cancer Populations with the goal of awarding two new grants.  The funding will help to develop tools to identify individuals in the general population who are at high risk for pancreatic cancer far earlier than they would otherwise be diagnosed, using information from existing health records.

 One Team was selected to identify high risk cohorts  through molecular and genetic data identifying new and accessible ways to identify high risk individuals and the other team will identify  high risk cohorts through real world data. The winners of these important new grants will be announced in the spring of 2019. 

 In case you missed it, check out the Facebook live from the Summit that was hosted by our chief scientist Dr. David Tuveson,

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Pancreatic Cancer News


Key to targeting the spread of pancreatic cancer

12. 8. 19 ladmin

An international team of researchers has revealed how aggressive pancreatic cancer cells change their environment to enable easy passage to other parts of the body (or metastasis) – the main cause of pancreatic cancer related death. The researchers discovered that some pancreatic tumours produce more of a molecule called ‘perlecan’ to remodel the environment around them, which […]

Inherited pancreatic cancer risk mutation identified

12. 8. 19 ladmin

Scientists studying a highly cancer-prone family have identified a rare, inherited gene mutation that dramatically raises the lifetime risk of pancreatic and other cancers. The discovery of the previously unknown mutation, reported in Nature Genetics by investigators from Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, could lead to routine testing of individuals with a strong family history […]

Pancreatic Cancer: Less Toxic, More Enduring Drug May Improve Therapy

8. 8. 19 ladmin

Unlike many other cancers, most pancreatic tumors are rock hard. “That’s one reason why pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal types of cancer,” says Kenneth Olive, PhD, associate professor of medicine and pathology & cell biology at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and a pancreatic cancer researcher at the Herbert […]

Scientists develop promising drug for treating ovarian, pancreatic cancers

22. 7. 19 ladmin

Known as two of the most lethal cancers, ovarian and pancreatic cancer are often called silent killers since they rarely have early symptoms. As a result, they frequently go undetected until they’re too late to effectively treat. Cancer scientists at Houston Methodist and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have been vigilant about […]

Test shown to improve accuracy in identifying precancerous pancreatic cysts

17. 7. 19 ladmin

Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center study coauthors Anne Marie Lennon, Simeon Springer, Marco Dal Molin, Christopher Wolfgang and Bert Vogelstein will participate in a press teleconference organized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science at 11 a.m. Tuesday, July 16. To RSVP, send an email to scipak@aaas.org. An audio recording and transcript will be […]

WVU researcher studies new treatment for pancreatic cancer

14. 6. 19 ladmin

If the American Cancer Society’s projections prove accurate, more people will die from pancreatic cancer than from breast, brain, ovarian or prostate cancer this year. One reason pancreatic cancer is so lethal is its resistance to traditional chemotherapy. But West Virginia University surgical oncologist Brian Boone is exploring whether FOLFIRINOX–a new combination of cancer drugs–can improve outcomes in patients […]

Using tumor biomarkers to tailor therapy in metastatic pancreatic cancer

10. 6. 19 ladmin

A new pilot study demonstrated the feasibility of using molecular tumor markers as the basis for selecting the chemotherapeutic agents to use in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer. Based on these promising results a larger phase II clinical trial has been initiated using molecular biomarkers to guide the choice of second-line therapies. The design, results, […]

Biomarker predicts which pancreatic cysts may become cancerous

5. 6. 19 ladmin

Pancreatic cancer kills more than 45,000 people in the U.S. each year, mostly due to the fact that it is detected too late for surgery to remove and halt the spread of the cancer. Cysts in the pancreas sometimes develop into the invasive cancer, depending on the type of cyst, but such growths often are […]

Lynparza stalls pancreatic cancer in patients with BRCA mutations: study

2. 6. 19 ladmin

AstraZeneca and Merck & Co’s Lynparza helped patients with advanced pancreatic cancer who carry BRCA gene mutations go nearly twice as long without their disease worsening than those who received a placebo, according to data from a late-stage clinical trial presented on Sunday. BRCA mutations are typically linked with breast and ovarian cancers, but occur […]

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