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Promise and Progress - Schwartz Foundation Supports Pancreatic Cancer Research

Reprogramming Cancer Cells - The Story of Epigenetics
Issue No. 1

Schwartz Foundation Supports Pancreatic Cancer Research

Date: July 16, 2014

scwartz gift
left to right: Dr. Christopher Wolfgang, Mark Schwartz, Susan Carlson, and Robert Schwartz.

Scientists at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins received a $100,000 gift from the Chicago-based Leslie F. Schwartz Pancreatic Cancer Research Foundation to fund pioneering research in pancreas cancer prevention and detection.

Foundation president Mark Schwartz says the gift is the first major donation made by the foundation, which was founded in 2011 to support pancreatic cancer research following the death of his wife Leslie, a media executive at GroupM in Chicago. "Thanks to Leslie's indomitable spirit and the generosity of our donors, we are pleased to be in a position to provide financial assistance to the pancreatic cancer early detection project undertaken by Dr. Christopher Wolfgang and his distinguished colleagues at Johns Hopkins," says Mr. Schwartz. "We hope that this research will bring us closer to the development of universally reliable methods for the early detection of pancreatic cancer."

Dr. Wolfgang, a pancreatic cancer expert and surgeon, is leading research aimed at identifying the first genetic changes that initiate this deadly form of cancer. His studies will examine fluid-filled cysts that form in the ducts of the pancreas. These cysts, called intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMNs), are a primary way that pancreatic cancers originate. They provide an early opportunity to intervene and potentially prevent pancreatic cancer.?"We are so grateful for the foundation's support. It is funding research that will help us better understand the genetic alterations contained within IPMNs to form a timeline of pancreatic cancer origination and progression," says Dr. Wolfgang. "We hope to learn how they originate, differentiate harmless cysts from those that will become cancers, and decipher the specific molecular changes involved in the progression from cyst to pancreas cancer."??

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