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TGen scientists seek to extend quality of life for pancreatic cancer patients

TEMPE, Ariz. - Oct. 28, 2010 - Organizers of the 5th annual StepNOut for Pancreatic Cancer Research run, walk and dash have doubled their goal from last year, aiming to raise $200,000 to fight the most deadly of all cancers.

More than 1,000 participants are expected 8-11 a.m. Nov. 7 at Tempe's Kiwanis Community Park to raise funds for pancreatic cancer research at the non-profit Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

Last year's event drew more than 900 racers and raised more than $130,000, far exceeding last year's goal of $100,000.

"TGen's international leadership in treating pancreatic cancer has inspired hundreds and hundreds of generous volunteers and contributors to join in our efforts," said Michael Bassoff, President of the non-profit TGen Foundation, the fundraising arm of the Phoenix-based biomedical research institute.

Mark Curtis, the co-anchor for 12 News who lost his mother to pancreatic cancer, is the honorary chair and master of ceremonies.

More than $13,000 worth of items will be auctioned, and Phoenix-based MidFirst Bank will match every coin in spare change donated, up to $1,000.

Also this year, patients and their families are sharing stories about their struggle with pancreatic cancer on the TGen Foundation website, www.tgenfoundation.org. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States, with nearly 43,000 new diagnosis annually. An estimated 36,000 will die this year from the disease. There are no early detection methods available, so the cancer usually is not found until its advanced stages. As a result, fewer than 1 in 5 survive more than a year after diagnosis, making it one of the most aggressive and most deadly of cancers.

TGen's pancreatic cancer research is headed by world-renowned expert Dr. Daniel Von Hoff, TGen's Physician-in-Chief and Director of TGen's Clinical Translational Research Division.

Dr. Von Hoff and Dr. Craig B. Thompson, Director of the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania, are co-leaders of the national Stand Up to Cancer pancreatic cancer "Dream Team." Their three-year investigation, highlighted recently on the CBS Evening News, is trying to find ways to "cut off the fuel supply" to pancreatic tumors, essentially starving the cancer by preventing nutrients from reaching the tumors and enabling them to grow out of control.

The pancreas is a banana-sized gland behind the stomach that secretes enzymes into the upper part of the small intestine to help digest proteins, carbohydrates and fats. It also produces hormones, including insulin, which helps regulate the metabolism of sugars.

November is national Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, and it's a particularly special time for TGen's National Pancreatic Cancer Committee as it marks 5 years of making a difference in the lives of those battling this deadly disease.

Roseanna Robinson Norman of Scottsdale, a member of TGen's National Pancreatic Cancer Committee, is chairing StepNOut for the fourth year. Roseanna lost her husband, Michael Norman, to pancreatic cancer within seven short weeks of his complaining of what initially began as back pain. Roseanna is the national bridal gifts director for Lifetime Brands of Garden City, N.Y., and dedicates her spare time to orchestrating the annual event for TGen.

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If you go to StepNOut:
What: The Translational Genomics Research Institute's (TGen's) 5th annual StepNOut for Pancreatic Cancer Research.
Where: The south end of Tempe's Kiwanis Community Park, 6111 S. All-America Way, Tempe. Enter off Guadalupe Road at All American Way, between Rural and Kyrene roads.
When: 8-11 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 7. Registration is at 8 a.m.; the races start at 9 a.m.
Cost: Ages 13 and up $30; ages 5-12 $10; and ages 0-4, free.
Registration: Please register at the event or online at: www.helptgen.org.
Why: Organizers hope to raise more than $200,000 for TGen's pancreatic cancer research.

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About TGen
The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix, Arizona-based non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life changing results. Research at TGen is focused on helping patients with diseases such as cancer, neurological disorders and diabetes. TGen is on the cutting edge of translational research where investigators are able to unravel the genetic components of common and complex diseases. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities, TGen believes it can make a substantial contribution to the efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. TGen is affiliated with the Van Andel Research Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan. For more information, visit: www.tgen.org.

Media Contacts:
Erin Massey
Director of Development, TGen Foundation
602-343-8470
[email protected]

Roseanna Robinson Norman
StepNOut Chair
602-300-7321
[email protected]

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