A combined team of Hirshberg Foundation-affiliated researchers from UCLA has been awarded a grant for $5.75 million to study the effects of obesity on pancreatic cancer formation. This grant will build upon work that the Hirshberg Foundation has been funding since it began in 1997.
“We know that the biological mechanisms of obesity, such as inflammation, can lead to the development of pancreatic cancer,” Dr. Guido Eibl, Laboratory Director of the Ronald S. Hirshberg Translational Pancreatic Cancer Research Laboratory and a UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center researcher, told UCLA. This study will look at the mechanisms that drive the formation of pancreas tumors with the goal of preventions strategies for those at higher risk.
The National Cancer Institute’s P01 grant will fund three distinct projects over a five-year period. This collaborative approach will include Dr. Eibl from UCLA, Dr. Enrique Rozengurt, Ronald S. Hirshberg Memorial Chair in Pancreatic Cancer Research at UCLA, and Dr. Stephen Pandol, long-time collaborator and member of the Hirshberg Foundation Scientific Advisory Board with Cedars-Sinai.
The first project, led by Dr. Guido Eibl, will investigate the links between diet, obesity, inflammation and pancreatic cancer while looking to evaluate potentially preventive strategies. The second project, spearheaded by Dr. Rozengurt, will investigate the potential for using statins and metformin, FDA-approved drugs to treat elevated cholesterol levels and diabetes, to prevent pancreatic cancer in high-risk individuals. The final project, coordinated by Dr. Pandol, will address the pancreatic microenvironment to better understand how obesity and inflammation impact the tumor and surrounding tissues. These highly synergistic and integrative projects are led by experienced pancreatic cancer researchers with a proven track record of successful collaboration over the past 12 years.
This pancreatic cancer research partnership includes input from the Hirshberg Foundation’s long-time researchers and doctors, including Dr. David Dawson, Director of the UCLA Pancreas Tissue Bank; Dr. Vay Liang Go, Chief of the Hirshberg Scientific Advisory Board; Dr. O. Joe Hines, frequent Symposium presenter; and Dr. Gang Li, professor of Biostatistics.
We are honored that so many Hirshberg researchers are part of this amazing team working towards prevention and increased treatment options. The collaborative effort of this project is at the heart of the Hirshberg Foundation’s mission of a cancer-free future. Our early Seed Grants are now bearing fruitful results and this great accomplishment is just another stepping-stone towards a cure. Thank you to our donors, your support helped make this possible.