Skip Navigation

Visiting Dana-Farber? See our prescreening and mask requirements.

Pancreatic Cancer Collective awards Dana-Farber Cancer Institute researchers “New Therapies Challenge” grant

  • $1 million in initial funding to evaluate DNA repair inhibitors in pancreatic cancer
  • Aim to accelerate pancreatic cancer research and improve patient outcomes for pancreatic cancer


BOSTON – The Pancreatic Cancer Collective, the strategic partnership of the Lustgarten Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), has awarded a total of $7 million in first-round “New Therapies Challenge” grants to seven teams of top cancer researchers, including a team at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, to explore new pancreatic cancer treatments, the American Association for Cancer Research, the Scientific Partner of SU2C, announced today.  Each team will receive up to $1 million in initial funding, with $4 million per team for clinical studies awaiting the most successful projects in the second round.


These teams are the first projects funded under the Pancreatic Cancer Collective launched this spring to accelerate pancreatic cancer research and improve patient outcomes for pancreatic cancer, which is one of the deadliest cancers, with a five-year survival rate of only 8 percent, according to the National Cancer Institute.


Dana-Farber’s Pancreatic Cancer Collective New Therapies Challenge Research Team is:


Exploiting DNA Repair Gene Mutations in Pancreatic Cancer: Team leader: Alan D. D'Andrea, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; co-leader: James M. Cleary, MD, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The team’s goal is to evaluate DNA repair inhibitors in pancreatic cancer. It will seek to improve PARP inhibitor monotherapy by developing strategies that will combine different targeted therapies and have activity in patients with PARP inhibitor resistance.


“Pancreatic cancer has been a very challenging cancer to treat,” Dr. Cleary said. “However, recent research, including the work of Dana-Farber’s Brian Wolpin, MD, MPH and Andrew Aguirre, MD, MPH has revealed that DNA repair deficiency may be a molecular vulnerability of this cancer. Dr. D’Andrea already has made enormous contributions to the field of DNA repair through his work in ovarian cancer. With this grant, we are hoping to leverage his expertise in DNA repair to bring novel treatment options to our pancreatic cancer patients.”


The seven teams given funding in this first round of the Collective’s New Therapies Challenge will conduct their research for the next 14 months, reporting their results to the Collective and the Joint Scientific Advisory Committee (JSAC) which selected these teams.  The second round of funding of $4 million per team will support clinical studies of the most promising teams from the first round. 


The Lustgarten Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer have collaborated closely since 2012, jointly funding more than 209 investigators from 31 leading research centers in the United States and the United Kingdom. These efforts include four Dream Teams and five Research Teams, including two Convergence Teams bringing together computational experts with clinical oncologists. Cancer Interception, research supporting the earliest diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, even before the cancer may have fully formed, is the focus of one of the Dream Teams and one of the Research Teams. All told, these collaborative teams have planned, started, or completed 25 clinical trials. The Pancreatic Cancer Collective is building on this momentum to push the boundaries of what can be accomplished even further.

Dana-Farber: Victoria Warren, 617-939-5531

SU2C:  Jane Rubinstein,, (646) 386-7969

Lustgarten Foundation:  Erin Stoeber,, (516) 737-1557

AACR:  Richard L. Lobb,, (215) 446-8298



Posted on November 20, 2018

  • Research
  • Alan D. D'Andrea, MD
  • James M. Cleary, MD, PhD
  • Pancreatic Cancer

Media Contacts

If you are a journalist and have a question about this story, please call 617-632-4090 and ask to speak to a member of the media team, or email

The Media Team cannot respond to patient inquiries. For more information, please see Contact Us.

Alan D. D'Andrea, MD

James M. Cleary, MD, PhD