How to donateThe Pancreatic Cancer Alliance, a volunteer group, works closely with the UMass Memorial Foundation (a tax-exempt 501(c)3 charitable organization) and raises money under its auspices.
From 1974 to 1999, the five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer barely changed, standing at 4 percent (click here for the data). In the same time period, the survival rate for prostate cancer climbed to 98 percent from 67 percent, for breast cancer to 87 percent from 75 percent, and for colorectal cancer to 62 percent from 50 percent. How can this be? Results follow research. For pancreatic cancer there's been far too little for far too long.
Money donated to the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund is set aside to be used solely to support research into pancreatic cancer.
Dr Giles Whalen, MD, Chief of Surgical Oncology and Director of the UMass Memorial Cancer Center is the administrator of the funds.
Here's what the money is for:
Accomplishments to date
- The UMass Pancreas Program has been created (www.umassmed.edu/pancreas) under the direction of Dr. Jennifer Tseng, a gifted surgeon who has dedicated her career to fighting pancreatic cancer. Dr. Tseng was recruited to UMass as the Pancreatic Cancer Alliance Scholar, a position funded through Alliance contributions.
- Two surgical residents are working with Dr. Tseng on projects designed to improve the quality of life for pancreatic cancer patients and to develop methods to ensure the optimal treatment course is selected for each patient. Surgical Outcomes Analysis & Research (SOAR)
- We also helped purchase a Xenogen Ivis imaging system to aid in the study of pancreatic cancer in the mouse model developed by Dr. Brian Lewis. Dr. Lewis' lab at UMass is focused identifying correlations between specific genetic changes, tumor behavior and signal pathways in cancer. Click here for more on his work.
Awareness: We've held a number of events, including two medical symposia, in addition to fundraisers. Each has been designed to make more people aware of the neglect pancreatic cancer has suffered and to bring more resources to bear in this fight. Click here for more information on upcoming events.
To fulfill our mission, we are pursuing the following:
Translational research: To raise seed money to recruit and support a physician-researcher at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. This person would be charged with developing clinical trials specifically for pancreatic cancer to use research knowledge from the labs at UMass and elsewhere to create new treatments to help patients at the bedside. Initial goal: $600,000.
Educational: To create materials for newly diagnosed patients for distribution to medical offices, libraries, and health agencies and to offer support resources to patients and their families. Components covering the genetic causes of the disease and additional resources for patients and families are being added to this web site as well.
Endowed position: To support the creation of an endowed position at the UMass Medical School dedicated to the fight against pancreatic cancer. Need: $1.5 million.