Herb Kosten Foundation Donates for Pancreatic Cancer Research

The UTHSC Pancreatic Cancer Research team: back row, from left Swati Balkrishna, Neeraj Chauhan, Murali M. Yallapu, Rishi K. Gara, Saif Zaman, M. D. Sikander, Sheema Khan, Aditya Ganju, Vaibhav Gandhi, Sonam Kumari and Saini Setua. In center, Meena Jaggi and Subhash Chauhan
The UTHSC Pancreatic Cancer Research team: back row, from left Swati Balkrishna, Neeraj Chauhan, Murali M. Yallapu, Rishi K. Gara, Saif Zaman, M. D. Sikander, Sheema Khan, Aditya Ganju, Vaibhav Gandhi, Sonam Kumari and Saini Setua. In center, Meena Jaggi and Subhash Chauhan.

As a part of its ongoing effort to support pancreatic cancer research, the Herb Kosten Foundation has donated $30,000 to the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC). The funds are being used to provide tuition stipends for five graduate students researching novel therapeutic approaches for pancreatic cancer treatment. UTHSC matched this gift.

The students’ research is being conducted under the direction of Subhash C. Chauhan, PhD, professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the UTHSC College of Pharmacy. Working with him, and receiving the stipends, are graduate students Vaibhav Gandhi, Sonam Kumari, Neeraj Chauhan (no relation), Saini Setua and Aditya Ganju.

Duane Miller, PhD, chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, said, “If there is a killer in this world, it is pancreatic cancer. If you are diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, you have a one percent chance to survive five years. Today, we use surgery, radiation and chemotherapy to treat this disease. We are interested in researching the chemotherapy and how you develop the best treatments for patients. We hope to find drugs and deliver them in the most important way.”

In late August, representatives of the foundation met with faculty and students at UTHSC. “We are all about pancreatic cancer. We would love to have all cancer wiped out,” said Alan Kosten, chairman of the board of the foundation and brother of the late Herb Kosten, for whom it is named. “We were pleased to know that he (Dr. Chauhan) was already working in this area. As a foundation, we try to keep our money at home and are happy to support this project at UT.”

Based in Memphis and founded in 2003, the Herb Kosten Foundation is a collaborative effort between family members of Herb Kosten and UTHSC. Motivated by Kosten’s death from pancreatic cancer and the lack of community support and research progress in treating the disease, his family initiated a grassroots fundraising effort in the Memphis community. Annual tennis tournaments (tennis was one of Herb Kosten’s favorite sports) and 5-K races have yielded generous funding toward the fight against pancreatic cancer in the Mid-South.

See photos from the lab and learn more about the research in the latest issue of Pharmacy magazine.