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  • Posted Monday April 5, 2021

$200,000 Hearst Foundation grant supports TGen pancreatic cancer research

Funds launch study into condition known as malignant ascites

PHOENIX, Ariz. — April 5, 2021 — A $200,000 grant from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation will enable the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), an affiliate of City of Hope, to address a significant medical condition that occurs as a result of pancreatic cancer, the third leading cause of cancer death in the U.S.

Nearly 1 in 3 patients with advanced pancreatic cancer develop a highly debilitating condition called malignant ascites (MA), which causes a patient’s abdomen to fill with malignant fluid. This fluid swells the abdomen, causing pain and pressure on the diaphragm that leads to labored breathing and difficulty eating, which cascades to malnutrition, loss of muscle mass, and in turn weakness.

MA has no treatment. It is currently addressed by removing the fluid with a needle catheter every 12 days, increasing the risk of infection in the abdomen, and resulting in further deterioration in quality of life. Patients with MA have a very poor prognosis, usually surviving less than 5 months.

TGen aims to change that.

“MA is a serious clinical problem that worsens progressively near the end of a patient’s life,” said Daniel D. Von Hoff, M.D., FACP, a Distinguished Professor in TGen’s Molecular Medicine Division, and one of the nation’s leading authorities on the treatment and care of pancreatic cancer patients. “Detailed profiling of the cellular and molecular features of MA should reveal actionable insights about the disease that can be tested in preclinical laboratory models and subsequently used to guide the treatment of patients.”

TGen will characterize MA samples from pancreatic cancer patients in a search of new drug targets, and new therapeutic treatments.

“This Hearst Foundation gift allows our scientists and doctors to build on their successes in treating pancreatic cancer as they now turn their attention to this critical and unmet area of concern for pancreatic cancer patients,” said Erin Massey, Chief Development Officer for the TGen Foundation.

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About TGen, an affiliate of City of Hope
Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix, Arizona-based nonprofit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life-changing results. TGen is affiliated with City of Hope, a world-renowned independent research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases:  This precision medicine affiliation enables both institutes to complement each other in research and patient care, with City of Hope providing a significant clinical setting to advance scientific discoveries made by TGen. TGen is focused on helping patients with neurological disorders, cancer, diabetes and infectious diseases through cutting-edge translational research (the process of rapidly moving research toward patient benefit). TGen physicians and scientists work to unravel the genetic components of both common and complex rare diseases in adults and children. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities worldwide, TGen makes a substantial contribution to help our patients through efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. For more information, visit: Follow TGen on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter @TGen.

Media Contact:
Steve Yozwiak
TGen Senior Science Writer
[email protected]

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