For Immediate Release
(Los Angeles, California) – On January 31, top clinicians, researchers and physicians from Cancer Centers across the United States presented new developments and progress on finding a cure for pancreatic cancer at the 8th Annual Agi Hirshberg Symposium on Pancreatic Cancer. The Symposium was hosted by the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.
Held on the campus of University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where the Hirshberg Foundation supports one of the largest pancreatic cancer laboratory programs in the country, this year’s Symposium dedicated to eradicating pancreatic cancer, was the most successful to date. Speakers featured talked about progress in topics ranging from new drug therapies for pancreas cancer to early detection screenings.
Agi Hirshberg, founder of the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research and the Hirshberg Symposium on Pancreatic Cancer said, “I’m very proud of this Symposium as each year we discover advances, bringing us to another step closer to our ultimate goal.” She added, “Although we’ve made inroads in new drugs, clinical trials and treatments, we still have a long way to go. The cure for pancreatic cancer will not come from one lecture, only through progress.”
The Symposium held dual sessions. The morning’s Medical Session began with six Foundation Seed Grant Program recipients presenting new strategies in management for pancreatic cancer. The afternoon session geared toward Patient and Families consisted of topics including Research and Surgery, Palliative Care and the GI Process for Pancreatic Cancer. This is the fifth year that the Patient and Family Session was offered and its success continues to grow.
Highlights from the Patient and Family Session featured targeted therapies for pancreas cancer – including research presented by F. Charles Brunicardi, MD, F.A.C.S., UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center on a new clinical trial drug called PDX; early detection screening developments (presented by C. Melbern Wilcox, MD, University Alabama at Birmingham); and symptom management/patient care during treatment for pancreatic cancer (presented by Thomas Strouse, MD, University of California, Los Angeles). In addition, Diane Simeone, MD, University of Michigan, spoke on targeting pancreatic stem cells and shared exciting news about a clinical trial for metastatic pancreatic cancer patients using a hedgehog inhibitor combined with Gemcitabine.
As an added benefit, the Symposium offered a special extended breakout session where patients and families were given the opportunity to choose which presentation they wanted to participate in. Topics included emotional support, genetic counseling and legal resources. Detailed presentations by researchers and physicians can be found on the Hirshberg Foundation’s website at www.pancreatic.org.
The 8th Annual Agi Hirshberg Symposium for Pancreatic Cancer was sponsored by biopharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, Genentech, Celegene and Amgen.
The Foundation’s dedicated efforts have significantly raised awareness and understanding about pancreatic cancer, a disease that continues to be one of the most fatal and least funded of all cancer types. Their continued funding of basic and translational research is their chance to offer life extension, better treatment options and eventually, a cure. The Hirshberg Foundation staff is able to help when patients and families first receive diagnosis of pancreatic cancer by providing doctor referrals across the United States, second opinion referrals, treatment facility referrals, nutritional information, financial aid information, emotional support information for patients, families and caregivers and someone to talk to that has been through the process from beginning to end.
About the Hirshberg Foundation: Founded in 1997, the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to advancing pancreatic cancer research, and providing information, resources and support to pancreatic cancer patients and their families. It is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. The federal tax ID number for the foundation (EIN) is 95-4640311.
Established by Agi Hirshberg, whose husband Ronald died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 54, the foundation includes the Ronald S. Hirshberg Translational Pancreatic Cancer Research Laboratory; the Ronald S. Hirshberg Chair in Translational Pancreatic Cancer Research; and the Hirshberg Pancreatic Cancer Information Center.
To date, the Foundation has:
• Funded Seed Grant Award Recipients who have received $40 million dollars in NIH grants
• Raised more than $12 million for pancreatic cancer research
• Granted over $650,000 in financial aid for patients
• Provided assistance to thousands of patients and their families
• Expanded seed grant funding to Loma Linda University, City of Hope, Johns Hopkins Medical Center, Mayo Clinic, Columbia University, University of Minnesota, University of Pittsburgh, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, Harvard Medical School, Duke University Medical Center, Vanderbilt Medical School and University of Arizona Cancer Center.
• Supported the American Pancreatic Association’s (APA), Japan Pancreas Society, and the European Pancreatic Club’s Annual Meetings
• Presented the Agi Hirshberg Symposium at UCLA, focusing on research progress and patient and family education
• Funded the creation of the Tissue Data Bank at UCLA
• Awarded international grants to new investigators
• Fund medical Symposiums for pancreatic cancer research
• Fund seed grants for new research projects of merit for pancreatic cancer
• Consistently update the pancreatic.org site with the latest news and information
• Host fundraising events to raise awareness and funds for pancreatic cancer
• Provide financial assistance for patients