Thank you!

  Dr. Sita Kugel

Dr. Sita Kugel
Fred Hutch file photo

Cures start at Fred Hutch because of the drive and determination of some of the brightest scientific minds in the world. Innovative and visionary researchers like Dr. Sita Kugel are making progress against especially difficult-to-treat diseases, including pancreatic cancer.

Pushing cures forward

About 55,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer will be diagnosed this year, making it a relatively rare type of cancer. But while pancreatic tumors make up only 3.2 percent of new cancer diagnoses, the disease accounts for 7.2 percent of all cancer-related deaths because it is frequently diagnosed only after it has spread to other places in the body. With current treatments, less than 10 percent of patients with pancreatic cancer can expect to survive five years. More troublingly, research thus far has failed to drastically affect incidence or death rates associated with pancreatic cancer. New, more effective treatments for this disease are desperately needed.

This is where climbers like you can make a lifesaving difference. Whether you fundraise as an individual climber or as a member of a team, the money you raise helps accelerate scientific breakthroughs. Lydig Construction knows firsthand how climbers advance research at Fred Hutch. In 2018, the company formed three teams to summit Mt. Baker and the funds they raised are supporting Dr. Kugel and her team’s work to uncover the genetic alterations that lead to different subtypes of pancreatic cancer, which could provide potential targets to treat. Dr. Kugel is also exploring targeted therapies for the most aggressive form of pancreatic cancer and has caught the attention of several foundations, including the Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation and the V Foundation for Cancer Research (named for the late Jim Valvano of ESPN), which recognized Dr. Kugel as a 2018 V Scholar.


Climb Lydig Baker Summit

Members of Team Lydig on Mt. Baker, 2018
Climb to Fight Cancer file photo

Your support makes a difference

The research the Kugel lab is conducting today to unravel the molecular mysteries of pancreatic cancer is laying the foundation for better treatments and — eventually — cures tomorrow. It’s work that wouldn’t be possible without support from the Climb to Fight Cancer community.

“The potential impact of our scientific research on patients with pancreatic cancer is a driving force for the experiments we conduct on a daily basis,” says Dr. Nithya Kartha, a second-year postdoctoral fellow in the Kugel lab. “The philanthropic support our lab has received is an essential funding source that enables the work we do toward fighting this deadly disease.”

Thank you

Dr. Kugel, Dr. Kartha, and all the other dedicated scientists and staff at Fred Hutch are committed to curing cancer. As a climber who journeys to some of the world’s highest mountain peaks to advance the Hutch’s lifesaving research, it’s a commitment you likely recognize and share. With you by our side, cancer faces an unstoppable force, and we are deeply grateful for your inspired support.