July 17, 2013

Penn Medicine Physician Receives Doris Duke Grant to Study Biological Underpinnings of How Pancreatic Cancer Spreads

PHILADELPHIA — Gregory Beatty, MD, PhD, an assistant professor in the division of Hematology/Oncology in the Abramson Cancer Center, has received a three-year Clinical Scientist Development Award (CSDA) for $486,000 from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to support his clinical research efforts as he works to study the process by which pancreatic cancer spreads in the body and develop new therapies to treat the disease.

“Studies investigating the biology of human pancreas cancer metastasis are lacking,” said Beatty. “The goal of the work funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation will address this critical unmet need by using a comprehensive and collaborative approach to study the role of peripheral blood monocytes as major regulators of the metastatic process in pancreas carcinoma. Peripheral blood monocytes are an attractive and innovative target for impacting tumor metastasis due to their lack of genetic instability and decisive ability to impact tumor biology.”

To conduct this work, Dr. Beatty will lead a team of investigators working to establish the necessary clinical data to develop monocyte-directed immunotherapies designed to inhibit metastasis and tumor growth in patients with pancreas carcinoma and other solid malignancies.

The CSDA funds physician-scientists who are forming their own research teams and allows them to dedicate 75 percent of their professional time to clinical research. After a scientific review panel selected the top 57 of 292 eligible pre-proposals from junior faculty-level physician-scientists, a second peer-review panel designated 16 final candidates to receive grants. Doris Duke has awarded 218 Clinical Scientist Development Awards since 1998, totaling about $94 million.

Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.


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