Salk professor named grantee in new pancreatic cancer research program

May 29th, 2014
Salk professor named grantee in new pancreatic cancer research program
This is Ronald M. Evans, professor, director of the Gene Expression Laboratory, Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, March of Dimes Chair in Molecular and Developmental Biology. Credit: Courtesy of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Ronald M. Evans, director of the Gene Expression Laboratory at Salk and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, is one of three scientists chosen to receive $5 million in research funding as part of The Lustgarten Foundation's new "Distinguished Scholars" program, which recognizes individuals who have made outstanding achievements in research to focus their efforts on finding a cure for pancreatic cancer.

The Lustgarten Foundation, the nation's largest private funder of pancreatic cancer research, established the new Distinguished Scholars initiative to identify and fund the best minds in research today to engage in pancreatic cancer research. The three scientists will each receive $5 million in research funding over the next five years. The grantees were selected by The Lustgarten Foundation's Scientific Advisory Board due to their historical accomplishments of breakthrough research.

"I am deeply honored by The Lustgarten Foundation's support and belief that this research will pave the road to a cure," says 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."

"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," says 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."

Douglas Fearon, of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Weill Cornell Medical College, and Bert Vogelstein, of Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, will also both receive funding as part of the new program.

Evans, who is also the holder of the March of Dimes Chair in Molecular and Developmental Biology, 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.

Provided by Salk Institute

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