2015 Grants Awarded

The Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation was proud to award the following grants in 2015:


Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions (Baltimore) 
For Continued Support of "Genetic Sequencing of Patients with Familial Pancreatic Cancer." Dr. Ralph Hruban's pancreatic cancer team has sequenced the genomes (all 3 billion letters of DNA) of 700+ patients with familial pancreatic cancer. Dr. Nick Roberts will continue to analyze all the data. The project seeks to discover the genes that cause familial pancreatic cancer based on a person's DNA sequence.

Laura Wood, MD, PhD "Characterization of the Moment of Invasion in Pancreatic Neoplasms"
Invasive pancreatic cancer is an aggressive deadly cancer with a dismal prognosis. Invasive pancreatic cancer arises from non-invasive precursor lesions that, if detected early enough, are curable.  The goal is to remove these lesions before they progress to an invasive cancer. This research will try to characterize the moment of transition between non-invasive cysts and the infiltrating cancer.

Cancer of the Pancreas Screening-5 (CAP S5) 
This project is a multicenter study that evaluates the role of screening the pancreas of asymptomatic individuals judged to be at increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer because of their family history and evidence of inherited predisposition. The trial is led by Dr. Goggins at Hopkins but seven centers across the U.S. are participating.

$20,000 as san honorarium for Dr. Ralph Hruban
Dr. Hruban can apply this to a pancreatic cancer research project in his lab as he sees fit.

The University of Chicago (Chicago)
Support of a post-doctoral surgical oncology fellow, Kinga Skowron, M.D., who is dedicating two years to early detection pancreatic cancer.  Dr. Skowron is working under the supervision of Dr. Ralph Weichselbaum.  This Fellowship is called the Rolfe-Warrior Fellow, in honor of our being selected the winner of the Deerfield High School – School Chest Charity Drive.

Irving Waxman, MD for Detection of Portal Vein Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs) in Pancreatic Cancer
Dr. Waxman is exploring CTCs as a non-invasive indication of the extent of the tumor, prognosis, and survival in pancreatic cancer patients. Currently CTC detection is only possible in advanced stages solely through blood tests. This is the first known study to look at CTCs isolated from the portal vein system in pancreatic cancer tumors through endoscopic ultrasound, as compared to blood samples.

Early Detection Projects via the Lustgarten Foundation
The Rolfe Foundation and the Lustgarten Foundation are partners in the annual DASH for Detection 5K. Every year we pledge a grant to Lustgarten representing 50% of the net proceeds from the DASH, which they then use to fund an appropriate early detection research project based on the advice of their Scientific Advisory Board.

This year the Rolfe Foundation Science Committee chose two projects based on Lustgarten's recommendations.

Dr. Charles Fuchs, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (Boston)
Dr. Fuchs, an epidemiologist, is studying the biology of pancreatic cancer in the context of obesity and what obesity-related molecular signaling pathways play a role in promoting the disease. This project is seeking to understand the link between obesity as a risk factor for pancreatic cancer and reveal new targets for both the prevention and treatment of the disease. Specifically, he is looking at elevated branch chain amino acids that are found in obese individuals to see if this is a biomarker for pancreatic cancer.

Dr. Ken Olive from Columbia University (NYC)
Continued support of this project that uses a new imaging approach called Harmonic Motion Imaging to detect changes in tissue composition that are associated with different pancreatic disease states, and evaluate its utility for early detection and diagnosis. Dr. Olive seeks to perfect the Ultrasound and MRI technologies.

Cancer Wellness Center (Northbrook) 
For continued support of their pancreatic cancer discussion group.

Wellness House (Hinsdale)
For continued support of their pancreatic cancer discussion group.