Lustgarten Foundation receives $434,0000 grant

Lustgarten Foundation receives $434,0000 grant establishing the Gail V. Coleman and Kenneth M. Bruntel Organoids for Personalized Therapy Project Devastated by the loss of her husband Kenneth Bruntel to pancreatic cancer, Gail Coleman is laser-focused on funding research offering hope and better treatment options for patients with metastatic cancer. Coleman knows the devastation of a pancreatic cancer diagnosis all too well, having also lost her 66-year-old mother followed by her 80-year-old father to the disease. Pancreatic cancer is considered a rare disease; that Coleman lost three of the people most precious to her to this cancer is wrenching. “I was very upset to learn there were still no good treatments for people with stage four pancreatic cancer when Ken was diagnosed,” Coleman said. “After Ken died, I spent a lot of time educating myself about pancreatic cancer research and decided to use Ken’s retirement fund to help advance this research. I concluded that translational research—which moves research from the laboratory to the clinic—offers the best chance for giving future patients some meaningful time after diagnosis. It also was important to me to invest in a project where our gift could make the most impact.”

Mutant Gene-Targeted Immunotherapy Approach Developed

A novel targeted immunotherapy approach developed by researchers at the Ludwig Center, the Lustgarten Laboratory, and Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center employs new antibodies against genetically altered proteins to target cancers.
The researchers targeted their immunotherapy approach to alterations in the common cancer-related p53 tumor suppressor gene, the RAS tumor-promoting oncogene or T-cell receptor genes. They also tested the therapy on cancer cells in the laboratory and in animal tumor models. Their findings are reported in three related studies published March 1 in Science ImmunologyScience and Science Translational Medicine.

Molecular imaging scientist recognized as one of the top biomedical engineers in U.S.

UC Davis professor of biomedical engineering and hematology/oncology Julie Sutcliffe has been elected to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of FellowsJulie Sutcliffe, UC Davis professor of biomedical engineering and hematology/oncology Julie Sutcliffe, UC Davis professor of biomedical engineering and hematology/oncology Sutcliffe was elected by members of the College of Fellows for her outstanding leadership in molecular imaging and translational sciences, and for leading technology from the bench to the clinic. “I’m deeply grateful to the College of Fellows for the recognition and to be welcomed into such a distinguished class of peers,” said Sutcliffe. “I would like to thank my UC Davis colleague Alyssa Panitch, professor of biomedical engineering, for her kind nomination. “

RNA Precision Trial for Pancreatic Cancer Opens At Columbia

In recent years there has been a movement toward so-called precision medicine in cancer treatment.
For pancreatic cancer patients and others with different forms of cancer, precision medicine means using drugs to target specific mutations in genes in hopes of slowing disease progression. For some cancers, such as certain forms of lung cancer, this targeted approach has changed treatment, allowing patients longer progression-free survivals. But recent studies, including those published by researchers at the Broad Institute (Cambridge, Massachusetts), show that, among all the ̓omics (the biology disciplines with names that end in “omic,” including genomics), the mutations in a tumor may be the worst predictor of its response to drugs. Pancreatic cancer, in particular, is one of the toughest challenges oncologists face. And although it remains one of the most lethal of malignancies, there is hope in the research and clinical community that a better understanding of the key genetic players will lead to more effective regimens that target these alterations.

Drug Developed by Georgia State Researcher Is Promising Against Pancreatic and Breast Cancers Drug Developed by Georgia State Researcher Is Promising Against Pancreatic and Breast Cancers

ProAgio, a drug developed by Georgia State University biology professor Zhi-Ren Liu and his team, is effective at treating pancreatic cancer and prolonging survival in mice, according to a study published in the journal Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology. A second study, published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, shows the drug is also effective against triple-negative breast cancer, a fast-growing and hard-to-treat type of breast cancer that carries a poor prognosis. ProAgio, created from a human protein, targets the cell surface receptor integrin αVβ₃, which is expressed on cancer-associated fibroblasts. Fibroblasts are cells that generate collagen and other fibrous molecules and can be mobilized into service by a tumor, creating a thick, physical barrier known as the stroma, which protects the cancer and helps it grow. The drug works by inducing apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in cancer-associated fibroblasts that express integrin αVβ₃.
Linda Tantawi

Meet Our New CEO

The Lustgarten Foundation today announced the appointment of Linda Tantawi as Chief Executive Officer. As CEO, Tantawi will expand the organization’s national presence to achieve its mission of finding a cure for pancreatic cancer. Since 1998, the Lustgarten Foundation has been at the forefront of advancements in understanding the disease and developing new and more effective treatments.

Announcing Tantawi’s appointment, Foundation Chairman Andrew Lustgarten said: “With the incredible vision of the Foundation’s previous leaders, we’ve made important strides—taking pancreatic cancer from an unsupported ‘orphan disease,’ to one that is now supported by a robust research program. Linda’s leadership skills and extensive experience in fundraising for national cancer nonprofits will help take the Foundation, and the research we support, to the next level.”

CAR T cells targeting the CEACAM7 protein show promise in pancreatic cancer

CAR T cells modified to recognise CEACAM7 were able to eliminate pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma cells in a late-stage model without toxic effects on healthy tissue. Researchers have identified and validated a promising protein target that could be used in novel chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies for pancreatic cancer. According to the team, this is the first time a distinct and specific target protein for pancreatic cancer cells has been identified and marks an important step towards a new, more effective treatment option with less toxic side-effects.

Mask Chains By Maggie


When the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, Lustgarten supporter Maggie Assael decided to get creative. She started making mask chains to secure her masks around her neck when she wasn’t wearing them, and quickly, her chains were in demand. With each mask chain purchase, Maggie is giving 20% from the sales back to the Lustgarten Foundation to help further pancreatic cancer research.

Families Move On


Families Move On by Lisa Strahs-Lorenc is a positive support book that discusses how families cope with losing a loved one to pancreatic cancer. All proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit the Lustgarten Foundation.

Budget Blinds



Todd Greenberg lost his wife Miriam to pancreatic cancer in 2015. As the owner of Budget Blinds in Ossining, NY, Todd donates a percentage of his sales to support the Lustgarten Foundation’s research efforts. He keeps Miriam’s legacy alive by walking with his team, “Miriam’s BFF’s,” at Lustgarten Walks in Greater Philadelphia and New York City.

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