The Pancreatic Cancer Collective Awards $7 Million to Teams of Researchers in Pancreatic Cancer

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The Pancreatic Cancer Collective—the strategic partner of the Lustgarten Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C)—has awarded a total of $7 million in first-round New Therapies Challenge grants to 7 teams of top cancer researchers to explore new pancreatic cancer treatments. Each team will receive up to $1 million in initial funding, with $4 million per team for clinical studies awaiting the most successful projects in the second round. 

These teams are the first projects funded under the Pancreatic Cancer Collective, which was launched this past spring to accelerate research and improve patient outcomes in pancreatic cancer.

Research Teams

  • Adoptive Transfer of TGF-β Resistant Tumor-Infiltrating Lymphocyte to Defeat Immunosuppressive Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma: This team will create tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes that are resistant to transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β).
  • Combined Targeting of MEK1/MEK2 and Autophagy for Pancreatic Cancer Therapy: This team will test combined blockade of intracellular signaling via the RAS pathway and autophagic recycling of the cells’ interior contents.
  • Exploiting DNA Repair Gene Mutations in Pancreatic Cancer: This team’s goal is to evaluate DNA repair inhibitors in pancreatic cancer. It will seek to improve poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor monotherapy by developing strategies that will combine different targeted therapies and have activity in patients who are resistant to PARP inhibitors.
  • Immunotherapy Targeting Mutant KRAS: This team’s goal is to develop a cellular therapy that exploits novel cell engineering, which can be used to manufacture highly selective, anticancer T cells on a per-patient basis.
  • Molecularly Targeted Radionuclide Therapy via the Integrin αvβ: This team will develop a peptide receptor radionuclide therapy to attack a protein called integrin αvβ6, which is significantly upregulated in pancreatic cancer. 
  • Targeting SHP2 in Pancreatic Cancer: This team will test a combination of drugs to more effectively kill pancreatic tumors that have a mutation in the KRAS gene. 
  • Targeting Stem Cell Signals in Pancreatic Cancer: This team will test whether certain drugs can reduce the growth of pancreatic cancer by inhibiting a hormone receptor that is believed to be a key regulator of pancreatic cancer stem cells.