EL SEGUNDO, Calif., March 11 The Pancreatic Cancer ActionNetwork today hosts its 2nd Annual Pancreatic Cancer Advocacy Day inWashington, D.C. 225 advocates, including patients, survivors and caregiversfrom across the United States will urge members of Congress to support theorganization's National Plan to Advance Pancreatic Cancer Research, whichseeks $170 million in federal funding for pancreatic cancer research andoutlines a strategic plan to identify early detection methods and ultimatelyfind a cure for this deadly disease. Pancreatic cancer advocates will alsocall on Congress to increase the National Cancer Institute (NCI) budget forFiscal Year 2009 by 9.5%. Pancreatic cancer is currently one of the leastfunded among leading cancer killers with less than 2% of the NCI's annualbudget allocated to pancreatic cancer research.
"Our advocates are on Capitol Hill today to raise their voice for over38,000 Americans that will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year,"stated Julie Fleshman, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network President and CEO. "Weurge Congress to join our fight against pancreatic cancer and change thecourse of history for this disease by supporting our National Plan to AdvancePancreatic Cancer Research and a real increase for the National CancerInstitute."
Scientific progress in pancreatic cancer research has been fatally slowand is reflected in the current statistics. Pancreatic cancer is the fourthleading cause of cancer death in the United States, and in 2008, over 33,000Americans will die from the disease. The mortality is the highest among allmajor cancers and has continued to increase -- even in prior years whenoverall cancer deaths have decreased.
"The low funding levels that have been allocated to pancreatic cancerresearch to date have negatively impacted research progress, as well as ourability to attract and keep a dedicated cadre of committed scientists focusedon pancreatic cancer research," added Fleshman.
Of the more than 5,000 research grants awarded annually by NCI in 2006,only 134 were categorized by the NCI as at least 50% relevant to pancreaticcancer research. There are currently fewer than 58 principal investigatorsthat have multiple grants or a primary career focus on pancreatic cancer.Young investigators face an even greater problem -- the NCI has awarded onlyfive young investigator grants to pancreatic cancer researchers in the lastthree years.
"We have heard repeatedly from the brightest scientific minds in thecountry that pancreatic cancer research is an area that holds great promise --the ideas are there, we just need the funds to pursue them," stated JasonKuhn, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Chairman of the Board.
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network supporters who are unable to attendAdvocacy Day will be able to add their voice to the chorus of advocates onCapitol Hill by participating in a "National Call-In". Details of the"National Call-In" can be found at http://www.pancan.org.
To learn more about the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, visithttp://www.pancan.org.
About the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is the only national organizationcreating hope in a comprehensive way through research, patient support,community outreach and advocacy for a cure. The organization raises money fordirect private funding of research -- and advocates for more aggressivefederal research funding of medical breakthroughs in prevention, diagnosis andtreatment of pancreatic cancer.
The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network fills the void of information andoptions by giving patients and caregivers reliable, personalized informationthey need to make informed decisions. We create a sense of hope and communityso no one has to face pancreatic cancer alone. The organization helps supportindividuals and communities all across the count