Ron Smith Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund
The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins
December 2, 1941 - December 19, 2011
A Lasting Legacy for The Voice of Reason
For many years, Ron Smith touched thousands of lives on the WBAL airwaves and in print. He was provocative, provoking, and peerless. The Ron Smith Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund at Johns Hopkins will reinforce Ron’s commitment to transforming the way pancreatic cancer is detected, diagnosed and treated.
“Ron knew death was the intended consequence of life and he faced it with courage, dignity, and openness.” -June Ray Smith
Pancreatic Cancer 2012
By: Daniel Laheru, M.D., Associate Professor of Oncology, Ian T. MacMillian Professorship in Clinical Pancreatic Cancer Research, Johns Hopkins Medicine. Dr. Laheru is leading these efforts.
- 10th leading cause of cancer in the United States (Estimated 43,920 new diagnoses in 2012)
- 4th leading cause of cancer related death in the United States (Estimated 37,390 deaths)
- Surgery to remove cancer is the only known cure
- Only 15-20% of patients at time of diagnosis have surgically removable cancer
- Of these patients who have surgery, many patients will have their cancer recur, despite surgery and post-surgery chemotherapy or chemotherapy and radiation therapy
- Lack of understanding how pancreatic cancer starts, grows and spreads
- No reliable screening test for pancreatic cancer exists (unlike mammograms for breast cancer, PAP smear for cervical cancer, colonoscopy for colorectal cancer)
- Only three currently approved chemotherapy drugs
- Limited research funds are available
- Few investigators (basic science/clinical research) are devoting careers to pancreatic cancer
Johns Hopkins is leading the way to overcome these challenges
- We have developed a reliable animal model that faithfully follows how pancreatic cancer first starts, grows and spreads
- We have a clearer understanding of how pancreatic cancer begins from early cancer changes to a pancreatic cancer
- We have a better understanding of the genetics of pancreatic cancer. There is a better understanding of how pancreatic cancer spreads, what new gene mutations occur from the original primary tumor to metastases and how pancreatic cancer cells become resistant to chemotherapy
- The complex relationships between the supporting tumor environment, the immune system and the pancreatic cancer are now better understood.
- Understanding new identified pathways important in pancreatic cancer growth and spread and how these complicated pathways interact are now better understood.
- Identify better screening methods to identify early/small cancers before they spread
- Understanding cancer metabolism and pancreatic cancer
- New innovative clinical trials testing new treatments based on these new understandings
- Exposing high school and college summer students, medical students, medical residents, graduate students, post-doctoral basic scientists and clinical fellows to pancreatic cancer research
Donations to the Ron Smith Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund will support this research and Hopkins’ new collaboration that calls upon the breadth of knowledge that exists throughout the University. The same technology used by the Johns Hopkins Space Telescope Science Institute to explore 200 million galaxies is being used to pour through huge amounts of data related to cancer DNA. This will draw clinically relevant conclusions and connect them to patient-specific problems. Ron would have marveled at these remarkable advances and humbled by the support of this most worthy cause in his name.
The number of individual lives that will be impacted by your act of generosity reinforces Ron’s commitment to transforming the way pancreatic cancer is detected, diagnosed and treated.
Online donations may be made by CLICKING HERE. Please note “Ron Smith Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund” in the “In Memory Of” section. All gifts are tax deductible and donors and the Smith Family will receive an acknowledgement of their gift.