Jonsson Family Pancreatic Cancer Challenge

Man holding prostate cancer ribbon

Change the Trajectory of Pancreatic Cancer!

By 2025, pancreatic cancer is expected to become the second leading cause of of cancer deaths in the United States, surpassed only by lung cancer

The UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC) is poised to advance new therapies and treatments for pancreatic cancer through innovative research. With your support, we can do just that.

The Jonsson Family is generously providing a $250,000 Challenge that will match your donation through April 2020 to support pancreatic cancer research. The JCCC needs to reach a total of $500,000 to fund a breadth of impactful research projects in the following areas:

  • Seed Grants for young investigators to pursue novel ideas
  • Seed Grants for experienced investigators to explore a new area of work 
  • Impact Grants for unique collaborations across our academic campus
  • Immunotherapy Treatments -  to harness the immune system to arrest pancreatic cancer
  • Targeted Therapies - to kill the pancreatic cancer cells while keeping the healthy cells intact

Since 2014, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration has approved 18 therapies that were developed through research conducted in UCLA labs or clinical trials in UCLA clinics.

This initiative to improve treatments and therapies for pancreatic cancer will be led by Dr. Timothy Donahue and Dr. Michael Teitell of the UCLA JCCC. They will leverage this progress by then working with four other University of California cancer centers - Davis, Irvine, San Diego and San Francisco - to further the University of California Pancreatic Cancer Consortium. One of the consortium's objectives is to apply for a Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant from the National Cancer Institute that would provide millions of additional funding. To learn more about this, click here.

Following an extensive national search, Michael Teitell, M.D., Ph.D. was appointed as the director of the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center on August 8, 2017. Dr. Teitell holds the Latta Endowed Chair in Pathology and is a full professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, with joint appointments in the Departments of Pediatrics and Bioengineering. He serves as Physician and Chief of the Division of Pediatric and Neonatal Pathology and he has been a member of the cancer center since 1999. Dr. Teitell is also a member of the Molecular Biology Institute, the Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research, AIDS Research Institute, and the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA.

Dr. Timothy Donahue is Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology and Professor of Surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He also has a joint appointment in the Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology to facilitate his research program. Dr. Donahue is the Surgical Director of the UCLA Agi Hirshberg Center for Pancreatic Diseases. He is the most prolific pancreatic surgeon at UCLA, performing more than 100 operations per year. While surgery is the only treatment associated with a cure, it is achievable to only a small fraction of patients diagnosed with this deadly disease. Newer therapies are needed to improve the overall survival of patients with pancreatic cancer. To this end, Dr. Donahue also runs a National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health-funded laboratory focused on pancreatic cancer tumor biology, which bridges his pancreatic surgery practice with his research program. He is responsible for generating many human-derived pancreatic resources at UCLA—most notably primary human tumor xenograft models, primary cell cultures, and a well-annotated repository of human pancreatic cancer specimens to support numerous research studies. He is also leading the UCLA component of the University of California Pancreatic Cancer Consortium and the SPORE application.

UCLA is among the busiest academic centers for pancreatic cancer treatment and surgery, with more than 500 patients with pancreatic cancer treated by UCLA physicians (2018 statistics)

Given that the five year survival rate of pancreatic cancer is only 9 percent, UCLA JCCC researchers are working hard to improve the available therapies. Current pancreatic cancer research focuses on the intersecting relationships between pro-oncogenic signaling and metabolism. These investigations will lend critical insights into drivers of biological aggressiveness, inherent and acquired mechanisms of drug resistance, and novel therapeutic strategies for pancreatic cancer.

  • Your gift is tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. You may donate via check, credit card, stock or select tangible property (which will then be sold).
  • You can donate online hereor mail a check to:
    UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Foundation (JCCF)
    8-950 Factor Bldg
    Box 951780
    Los Angeles CA 90095-1780
  • Please make your check payable to UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Foundation and include a note indicating your gift is for the Jonsson Family Pancreatic Challenge.
  • The staff at the JCCF is happy to answer any questions you may have via email or at 310-206-0675.

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Thank you for your generous support.