Gift will advance breakthroughs in pancreatic cancer research
Editor’s Note: The following article was originally published on UCLA Newsroom.
“Agi Hirshberg’s 18-year commitment to finding a cure has placed UCLA at the forefront of cutting-edge research in pancreatic cancer,” said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. “In recognition of her visionary support and a generous new $5-million gift, we are pleased to name the UCLA Agi Hirshberg Center for Pancreatic Diseases.”
Hirshberg established the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research in 1997, in memory of her late husband, Ronald S. Hirshberg, who died of pancreatic cancer age 54. The innovative research inspired by the Foundation has changed the face of pancreatic cancer treatment. As the first beneficiary of the Foundation’s giving, UCLA established the Ronald S. Hirshberg Translational Pancreatic Cancer Research Laboratory in 1998 and the Ronald S. Hirshberg Chair in Translational Pancreatic Cancer Research in 2000.
Hirshberg’s most recent gift will fund seed grants as well as the center’s highest priority needs. The Hirshberg Foundation’s Seed Grant Program has helped propel pancreatic cancer research, serving as a springboard for multiple investigations at UCLA and other prestigious institutions and leading to additional investments from the National Institutes of Health and other organizations. Since the program’s inception in 2000, it has generated more than $65 million in additional support for research involving the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic cancer, early diagnosis, surgical and chemotherapeutic treatments, psychosocial approaches to disease management and prevention strategies.
“Agi Hirshberg raised the visibility of this devastating disease and has been instrumental in advancing pancreatic cancer research, not only at UCLA but across the nation,” said Dr. Vay Liang Go, Director of the UCLA Center for Excellence in Pancreatic Diseases. “Her ongoing support of the multiple areas focused on pancreatic cancer at UCLA has led to pioneering investigations that have given many patients a chance to survive one of the most deadly forms of cancer.”
According to Dr. Howard Reber, distinguished professor of surgery emeritus, chief of gastrointestinal and pancreatic surgery, and director emeritus of the newly renamed center, “Agi Hirshberg has had a major role in the growth and development of one of the country’s busiest and most successful clinical programs for the multidisciplinary treatment of pancreatic cancer.