A Salk Institute researcher is one of three scientists nationwide chosen to receive $5 million in research funding as part of a new distinguished scholars program to aid efforts to find a cure for pancreatic cancer.
Ronald M. Evans, director of the Gene Expression Laboratory at Salk and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, was chosen by the Lustgarten Foundation, the nation’s largest private funder of pancreatic cancer research.
“I am deeply honored by the Lustgarten Foundation’s support and belief that this research will pave the road to a cure,” said Evans. “We are excited to tackle the challenge and know that this funding will help us pioneer new advances toward understanding and treating this devastating disease.”
Douglas Fearon, of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Weill Cornell Medical College, and Bert Vogelstein, of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, were also chosen. The three scientists will each receive $5 million in research funding over the next five years.
“The Foundation’s scientific advisory board has selected these outstanding scientists because each one is a leader in their field with the greatest potential for developing an early detection test and more effective therapies for the nation’s most lethal cancer,” said Kerri Kaplan, executive director of the Lustgarten Foundation. “Together, we will pursue our mutual goals of improving survival rates for people with pancreatic cancer and eradicating this deadly disease.”
Evans’ research focuses on hormones and how they communicate signals within the body. Several of the hormone signals Evans discovered are primary targets in the treatment of breast cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer and leukemia, as well as osteoporosis and asthma.
Most recently he has been studying the use of Vitamin D in the treatment of pancreatic cancer in the laboratory. As a Lustgarten Foundation Distinguished Scholar, he will expand these studies to conduct clinical trials in pancreatic cancer patients using Vitamin D therapies.
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. More than 39,000 people will die from it this year. There are no early detection tests and no effective long-term treatments.
The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla is one of the world’s preeminent basic research institutions. Founded in 1960 by polio vaccine pioneer Jonas Salk, the institute is an independent nonprofit organization and architectural landmark.
— From a Salk Institute press release
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