The Leslie F. Schwartz Pancreatic Cancer Research Foundation, a Chicago-based charity with ties to Deerfield has presented scientists at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Kimmel Cancer Center with a gift of $100,000 to fund pioneering research in pancreatic cancer prevention and detection.
The gift will support the Hopkins study entitled, “Identification of the Origins of Pancreatic Cancer Using Evolutionary Biology Techniques: Steps Toward Early Detection.”
The study, led by pancreatic cancer expert Christopher L. Wolfgang, MD, PhD, seeks to identify the earliest precursors to pancreatic cancer. Using intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMNs), fluid-filled cysts that form in the ducts of the pancreas, Dr. Wolfgang and his team of researchers hope their results will serve as a basis for developing a valid method of early detection.
“We are so grateful for the Leslie F. Schwartz Pancreatic Cancer Research Foundation’s support. It is funding research that will help us better understand the genetic alterations contained within IPMNs to form a timeline of pancreas cancer origination and progression,” said 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.”
According to Deerfield resident and Foundation President, Mark Schwartz, the gift represents the first major donation made by the Foundation, which was founded to support pancreatic cancer research following the death of his wife, Leslie, a media executive at GroupM 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,” said Schwartz. “We hope that this research will bring us closer to the development of universally reliable methods for the early detection and effective, targeted treatment of pancreatic cancer.”
Eugene Feingold, Leslie’s father, added, “We are grateful to Leslie’s former colleagues at GroupM, who have generated major support, along with our friends and family, without whom we could not have made this gift. Leslie who spent 18 years in Deerfield raising her family was the third member of our family to succumb to pancreatic cancer. With continued funding, we look forward to the day when all families will be able to avert the tragic results almost always associated with this deadly disease.”