Who we are.

Join the fight against pancreatic cancer! The 2015 Pancreatic Cancer Research Walk is Sunday, November 1st at Sloan's Lake Park, Denver, CO.

All the money raised goes directly to pancreatic cancer research thanks to the Lustgarten Foundation!

Friday, October 30, 2015

What are the symptoms of pancreatic cancer?

Because the pancreas lies deep in the abdomen, a doctor performing an examination on a patient would not be able to feel a pancreatic tumor. Pancreatic cancer has few early warning signs, and as a result, pancreatic cancer rarely is discovered early. Many times the diagnosis is not made until the cancer has spread to other areas of the body.  When early symptoms do occur, they are often vague and nonspecific and can be confused with symptoms caused by medical conditions other than pancreatic cancer.

 Possible early symptoms that should be evaluated by your physician are:
*  The symptoms of pancreatic cancer are easily explained by the location of the pancreas in relation to other organs in the body.  A tumor located in the head of pancreas may cause jaundice to occur. The signs of jaundice are yellow skin and eyes, dark urine, and light clay-colored stool. Jaundice occurs when a substance called bilirubin builds up in the blood. This build-up causes a person to become noticeably yellow, or jaundiced and itchy.

*  As pancreatic cancer grows and spreads, pain can develop in the upper abdomen and may also spread to the back. The pain may become worse after eating or lying down. Advanced cancers or cancers in the body of the pancreas are most likely to cause pain.

*  Indigestion, lack of appetite, nausea, and weight loss can occur when a pancreatic tumor presses against the stomach and small intestine.  These symptoms may be due to the ability of pancreatic cancers to produce certain proteins that dramatically change the body’s normal physiology.

*  Islet-cell cancer, which is the uncommon form of pancreatic cancer, can cause the pancreas to make too much insulin, which results in low blood sugar levels. When this happens, the individual may feel weak or dizzy. Chills, muscle spasms, and diarrhea are frequent symptoms of islet-cell cancers as well. The symptoms that develop depend on the specific hormones that are being overproduced.

*  Other symptoms that can occur with pancreatic cancer result from the spread of the cancer to other parts of the body, a process called metastases. Under these circumstances, the symptoms will depend on which organs have been affected by the cancer.


You can make a difference!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Hereditary Pancreatic Cancer

What is Hereditary (Familial) Pancreatic Cancer?

Today, oncology investigators and clinicians agree that at least 10% of all pancreatic cancers are inherited. This means that pancreatic cancer has a tendency to run in certain families, and scientists want to know why. The risk of developing pancreatic cancer increases 2-fold for a person who has one first-degree relative (mother, father, brother, sister) with the disease. Having multiple affected members increases risk even more. The term Familial Pancreatic Cancer (FPC) is for families with 2 or more family members with pancreatic adenocarcinoma (the most common form of pancreatic cancer).

What are Familial Registries and Why are They Important?

Gathering information from families with a history of pancreatic cancer offers an opportunity to study the cause of cancer of the pancreas. This information is helping to devise new ways to diagnose pancreatic cancers in earlier stages, and ultimately, to develop better treatments for the disease. These registries are research-based. While your participation in one of these registries may help investigators learn more about familial pancreatic cancer, your participation in a registry does not substitute for clinical care by your own doctors.

What are Surveillance Programs?

A number of research programs studying how best to screen for early pancreatic pre-cancer have also been created. These surveillance programs differ throughout the United States, and each program designs its own research and clinical protocols. For example, some involve periodic screening of individuals with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer using endoscopic ultrasound (EUS). Just as is true for family research registries, your participation in a surveillance program does not substitute for clinical care by your own doctors. All Surveillance Programs and Familial Registries share a common goal: To learn more about the biological cause of familial pancreatic cancer in the hopes of developing early detection strategies and better treatments for the disease.

Walk for a cure. You can make a difference!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Want to volunteer?

Volunteers are among our greatest assets. Here are some opportunities to consider:

At Our Office Headquarters

If you reside on Long Island and would like to help, we'd love to meet you!
Office hours are weekdays, 9 am – 5 pm ET.

At Our Events

Volunteers are among our greatest assets. The Lustgarten Foundation hosts Walks all over the country and volunteers are needed for the following areas: Set-up, registration, greeters/crowd control, distributing refreshments, rest stops, assisting along the route and cheering walkers across the finish line. Find a Walk in your area, and register to volunteer today!
In addition to Walks, we also host several fundraising events throughout the year. Volunteers are always need to assist with set-up, registration, and greeting guests.

The Gift of Volunteering

We encourage students, scout groups, and teachers with their classes to get involved.
Volunteers Make It Happen! Contact us today and get involved!


Walks:Ann Walsh

Special Events:Suzanne Igneri
Special Events Coordinator

Distinguished Scholar Award

The Distinguished Scholars program is a new Lustgarten Foundation initiative that will identify and fund the best minds in research today to engage in pancreatic cancer research.  The grantees are selected by The Lustgarten Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board based on their historical accomplishments of breakthrough research.  As a Lustgarten Foundation Distinguished Scholar, each grantee is required to:
  1. devote at least 75% of their total time to research.
  2. dedicate a major portion of their research efforts to pancreatic cancer, and commit a significant effort as Principal Investigator of the Pancreatic Cancer Research Project (PCRP).
  3. direct and dedicate a portion of their laboratory to the project with a reasonable number of lab personnel dedicating 100% effort to the PCRP.
Continuation of annual funding is contingent upon the achievement of predefined research milestones and approval of scientific progress reports. 
More information about the 2014 Lustgarten Foundation Distinguished Scholars is included below.

Ronald M. Evans, Ph. D.

Dr. Ronald M. Evans is a Howard Hughes Investigator, March of Dimes Chair in Developmental and Molecular Biology, and a Professor and Director of the Gene Expression Laboratory at the Salk Institute.  Dr. Evans has received numerous awards for his research, most notably the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research in 2004 and the Wolf Prize in Medicine in 2012.  Dr. Evans is an authority on hormones and how they communicate signals in the body.  Several of the hormone signals Dr. Evans discovered are primary targets in the treatment of breast cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer and leukemia, as well as osteoporosis and asthma.  Most recently he has been studying the use of Vitamin D in the treatment of pancreatic cancer in the laboratory.  As a Lustgarten Foundation Distinguished Scholar, he will expand these studies to conduct clinical trials in pancreatic cancer patients using Vitamin D therapies.

Douglas Fearon, M.D.

An internationally known expert in the field of immunology, Dr. Doug Fearon will assume a new joint position on July 1 at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Weill Cornell Medical College.  Dr. Fearon  focused his studies initially on rheumatoid arthritis and is now applying that knowledge to cancer. Recently, he discovered a new drug that harnesses the immune system to break down the protective stromal barrier surrounding pancreatic cancer tumors and enables cancer-attacking T cells to penetrate it.  One of his first goals as a Lustgarten Foundation Distinguished Scholar will be to conduct clinical trials to test this new drug combination in pancreatic cancer patients. Previously, Dr. Fearon was a Sheila Joan Smith Professor of Immunology in the Department of Medicine at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute.

David Tuveson, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. David Tuveson, who heads the dedicated laboratory for pancreatic cancer research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, discovered that drug delivery to the tumor can be enhanced by degrading hyaluronan, a major component of the dense matrix surrounding the pancreatic tumor. Currently, there is a clinical trial underway to test if pre-treating patients with PEGPH20, the modified enzyme that degrades hyaluronan, will increase the amount of active drug delivered to the tumor cells. Additionally, he has adapted a culturing technology called “organoids” as a model for studying pancreatic cancer, which allows cells of a patient’s tumor to be grown outside of the body and in a tissue culture dish. The goal is to use a patient’s personal organoid to study its unique genetic makeup and biology, which will allow basic researchers and clinicians to test the effectiveness of different drugs on the organoid before testing them on the patient in the clinic.

Bert Vogelstein, M.D.

Dr. Bert Vogelstein is a Howard Hughes Investigator, Clayton Professor of Oncology and Pathology, and director of the Ludwig Center for Cancer Genetics and Therapeutics at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  He has led the way in the use of genetics technology to better understand genes and their mutations in order to treat and detect a variety of aggressive cancers.  He was first funded by The Lustgarten Foundation in 2007 to sequence the genome for pancreatic cancer, and his findings were published in the prestigious journal Science, which designated the project as among the top three 2008 "Breakthroughs of the Year." Since then, he has applied his vast expertise of genetics to early detection techniques for pancreatic cancer, which has led to the development of an early detection blood test in the laboratory that is now being tested in clinical trials with patients. The Lustgarten Foundation Distinguished Scholar grant will enable Dr. Vogelstein to continue his critical work in developing the first early detection test for pancreatic cancer.


Meet us at Sloan's Lake!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Early Detection Initiative

Lustgarten Foundation-Funded Research Study Holds 

Potential to Detect Pancreatic Cancer at Earliest Stages

The Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center announced results from a new research study that holds the potential to detect pancreatic cancer at an early stage by determining harmless pancreatic cysts from precancerous ones. Published in the July 20 edition of the prestigious Science Transnational Medicine, the research study was primarily funded by The Lustgarten Foundation and represents the first study from projects that were created through The Lustgarten Foundation’s Pancreatic Cancer Research Consortium.

Led by Dr. Bert Vogelstein, a Pancreatic Cancer Research Consortium member and scientific advisor of The Lustgarten Foundation, the research is a cooperative effort between Johns Hopkins and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, in collaboration with Indiana University. Johns Hopkins and Memorial Sloan Kettering both serve on the Foundation’s Consortium. Created in 2010, the Consortium is a collaboration involving six world-renowned medical institutions to advance the most promising research initiatives aimed at ultimately finding a cure for pancreatic cancer.
A significant percentage of pancreatic cancers begin as pancreatic cysts, fluid filled growths in the pancreas.  This study has uncovered a specific combination of gene mutations that can distinguish cancerous cysts from some non-cancerous cysts by obtaining small volumes of liquid obtained from patients by needle biopsy.  This is a critical step toward early detection that holds the potential for testing cysts that have been discovered through imaging technologies, like an MRI, using endoscopy techniques (similar to a colonoscopy).  Dangerous cysts would be removed immediately, before they became a malignant cancer, and benign cysts could safely be left alone without the risks of unnecessary surgery.
For more information, please see the full press release from Johns Hopkins.

Wake up early on Sunday for a good cause!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Donate your car!

The Lustgarten Foundation is please to accept all types of vehicle donations including autos, trucks, sport utilities, motorcycles, motor homes, boats, farm equipment and construction equipment.

Our program is managed by Auto-Donation.com, a respected national vehicle donation program, allowing us to accept and process vehicle donations in all 50 states.

Donating is simple and your vehicle does not need to be in running condition. Auto-Donation.com will make arrangements to have your vehicle picked-up and brought to auction for sale. The Lustgarten Foundation will receive the highest possible returns for you donation once your vehicle is sold - on average nearly 80 percent. After the sale, Auto-Donation.com will provide you with a receipt for your tax-deductibile donation.

Thank you for your support! Your donation will help fund urgently needed pancreatic cancer research.


Are you walking?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Artificial Pancreas Offers New Hope For Diabetics

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– Researchers are getting closer to perfecting an artificial pancreas which may offer new hope for Coloradans living with diabetes. The device takes the guesswork out of managing thedisease.
“Because my mom and dad knew the signs,” said 18-year-old Dominic Villano, a type 1 diabetic who was diagnosed at age six.
The disease runs in the family, Dominic’s father, Dean, is also a diabetic and also was diagnosed at age six.
Dominic checks his blood seven times a day and takes insulin shots. It hasn’t stopped him from playing sports but his disease is always on his mind.
“Is my blood sugar high or low, am I going to get low during a football game or something like that is probably the worst part,” said Dominic.
Dominic Villano tests his blood (credit: CBS)
Dominic Villano tests his blood (credit: CBS)
Diabetes treatment has come a long way since Dominic’s father was diagnosed with diabetes.
Dr. Peter Chase with the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora has cared for both Dominic and Dean.
At the center, researchers have been testing an artificial pancreas system to help diabetics automatically control their blood glucose levels.
“It doesn’t do away entirely with blood sugar checking but most people go down in the number they do per day,” said Chase.
“No shots would be a huge deal,” said Dominic.
It could be a game changer for those living with diabetes.
The Children’s Diabetes Foundation supports the Barbara Davis Center. The 29th Denver Carousel Ball Fundraiser is scheduled for Oct. 2 where John and Paige Elway will be honored