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Pancreatic cancer kills 50,000 people a year, in the U.S. alone.
It’s an aggressive disease that usually spreads beyond the pancreas before it’s detected.
When it is finally diagnosed, there are limited treatment options.
Most patients with pancreatic cancer die within a year of diagnosis.
Just 10% survive for five years.
Break Through Cancer is creating a series of transformative projects run out of collaborative “TeamLabs” designed to change this story—catalyzing new, highly effective therapies that reach patients expeditiously.

Two of those projects are now underway.


Scientists believe that the “KRAS” growth-promoting gene is pancreatic cancer’s Achilles’ Heel: Block the gene’s function, block tumor growth. A new class of KRAS-targeting therapies are starting to become available. However, the focus of their clinical development has been in lung and colon cancer to date. Now, Conquering KRAS in Pancreatic Cancer is working quickly and collaboratively—bridging disciplines, institutions, and sectors—to test a range of KRAS inhibitors for pancreatic cancer.


Increasing evidence finds that the interaction between the malignant cells in a pancreatic tumor and the other cells of the so-called “tumor microenvironment” can help malignant cells survive chemotherapy and immunotherapy. As such, understanding the changes in the microenvironment induced by therapy is critically important to improving outcomes for patients. This project aims to deploy a suite of cutting-edge molecular analytical tools, including single-cell methods, in tumor samples from patients undergoing therapy. This work will provide an unprecedented view into the effects of these therapies and allow for optimization of new treatments and treatment combinations.


Break Through Cancer was created in February 2021 with an extraordinary matching gift of $250,000,000. Every gift to the Foundation supports groundbreaking cancer research and helps us to meet our matching commitment.

For questions about giving please email Lisa Schwarz, Chief Philanthropy Officer at

Break Through Cancer
101 Rogers Street
Suite 3A
Cambridge, MA 02142