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The Lustgarten Foundation and AACR Honor Two American Icons by Establishing New Career Development Awards


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The Lustgarten Foundation and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) have announced two new career development awards for early-career female and underrepresented pancreatic cancer researchers, representing a commitment of the Lustgarten Foundation of up to $1.8 million. The awards will honor the extraordinary lives and legacies of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and civil rights icon and 17-term Georgia Congressman John Robert Lewis, two influential and inspiring public figures who died of pancreatic cancer in 2020.

Each year, more than 45,000 American lives are lost to pancreatic cancer—now the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths, with a 5-year relative survival rate of 10%. Recognizing the critical need for more research funding, the Lustgarten Foundation—a private funder of pancreatic cancer research—and the AACR have established the Lustgarten Foundation-AACR Career Development Award for Pancreatic Cancer Research in Honor of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the Lustgarten Foundation-AACR Career Development Award for Pancreatic Cancer Research in Honor of John Robert Lewis.

Each award consists of a 3-year, $300,000 grant supporting the mission to cure pancreatic cancer by funding meritorious basic and clinical research and addressing the ongoing need for greater gender and racial diversity in the pancreatic cancer research community. Thus, $600,000 has been committed to fund two awards in 2021.

New Efforts With Historical Resonance

“Pancreatic cancer is a particularly challenging disease; we know we need the best and most creative minds to take this on,” said Andrew Rakeman, PhD, Vice President of Research at the Lustgarten Foundation. “These career development awards will allow us to expand our talent pool and attract two of the top early-career scientists to our cause while honoring the contributions and legacies of Justice Ginsburg and Representative Lewis.”

“Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Lewis were two of the transformative figures of our time, leading our society toward greater diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), Chief Executive Officer of the AACR. “The AACR is very proud to work with the prestigious Lustgarten Foundation and to administer these grants named in the honor of these two remarkable icons. The recipients of these grants will strengthen the diversity of the cancer workforce to address the challenges of this difficult-to-treat disease, which include the elimination of cancer disparities in the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of pancreatic cancer.”

This program is being administered by the AACR and is currently accepting submissions. Visit https://www.aacr.org/professionals/research-funding/current-funding-opportunities/ for details. 


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