NEWS | April 27, 2020

UC Davis Health researchers are awarded additional $4 million to develop new therapies for pancreatic cancer

The funding is the second award for UC Davis Health researchers from the Pancreatic Cancer Collective

(SACRAMENTO)

The Pancreatic Cancer Collective has awarded additional funding of $4 million to UC Davis scientist Dr. Julie Sutcliffe and surgical oncologist Dr. Richard Bold as part of a “New Therapies Challenge Grant.” This is the group’s second award for Sutcliffe and Bold, who received an initial grant of $1 million in fall 2018 for research efforts to improve survival for people with the disease.

UC Davis scientist Julie Sutcliffe (pictured here) and surgical oncologist Richard Bold have been awarded additional funding to develop pancreatic can UC Davis scientist Julie Sutcliffe (pictured here) and surgical oncologist Richard Bold have been awarded additional funding to develop pancreatic can

"We are truly grateful to receive the generous support of the Lustgarten Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer enabling us to translate our avß6-targeted therapy to the clinic. Through their vision and commitment to the Pancreatic Cancer Collective we now have the opportunity to treat patients with pancreatic cancer,” said Sutcliffe. “It’s a great honor to be part of this amazing initiative."

The approach being developed by Dr. Sutcliffe and Dr. Bold will allow the selective delivery of radiation therapy internally to a patient so the treatment will kill pancreatic cancer cells at any site within a patient’s body. The therapy, known as peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT), involves the homing of a radioactive peptide, a type of radioactive therapy, onto a certain protein, the integrin avß6, that is found in pancreatic cancers. The Integrin avß6 is more present in pancreatic cancer and a marker for a more aggressive cancer. With this second round of funding, the team will conduct a Phase 1 clinical trial in people to evaluate the safety of this early stage therapy in pancreatic cancer and to find the ideal dosage for future, broader studies. The study will answer which patients will benefit more from this new therapy and whether it facilitates the killing of pancreatic cancer cells.

“Treatment options for pancreatic cancer remain limited and marginally effective; the Pancreatic Cancer Collective issued a challenge to researchers to ‘think outside the box’ and develop new therapies for this deadly cancer,” said Bold. “Through this additional funding we have even more support to take our diagnostic agent and turn it into a therapy.”

 “Few cancers need new effective treatments more than pancreatic cancer, and the ‘challenge grant’ approach to incentivizing researchers to bring new effective treatments forward rapidly, such as this work by Dr. Sutcliffe and Dr. Bold, is showing important promise,” stated Stand Up To Cancer CEO Sung Poblete, PhD, RN.

The strategic partnership of Lustgarten Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) has awarded additional funding of up to $16 million to four teams of top researchers as part of its “New Therapies Challenge Grants.” The Pancreatic Cancer Collective is an initiative of Lustgarten Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer “to seek potential breakthroughs in effective pancreatic cancer treatments, and eventually, a cure for this deadly disease” said Kerri Kaplan, president and CEO of the Lustgarten Foundation. The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is the Scientific Partner of SU2C and supports administration of these Challenge Grant projects receiving funding.