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UC San Diego Cancer Biologist Receives Claugus Award for Medical Research

Tatiana Hurtado de Mendoza received $250,000 in funding to support her studies on pancreatic cancer treatments

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University of California San Diego cancer biologist Tatiana Hurtado de Mendoza has been named the recipient of the 2023 Claugus Award for Medical Research. The award was established in 2021 by the Foundation For A Better World.

Hurtado de Mendoza received the award in recognition of her work in pancreatic cancer research, targeted at finding more effective treatments and outcomes for patients diagnosed with the condition. The award also includes $250,000 in grant funding to UC San Diego to support Hurtado de Mendoza’s continued research. 

Tatiana Hurtado de Mendoza
Tatiana Hurtado de Mendoza was honored with the 2023 Claugus Award for her research on pancreatic cancer.

“We are pleased to name Dr. Tatiana Hurtado de Mendoza as the winner of the 2023 Claugus Award for Medical Research,” said Adam Hoffman, president of the Foundation For A Better World. “With this award, our goal is to recognize and amplify the work of those who have devoted their lives to finding cures for intractable diseases such as Alzheimer's, MS and pancreatic cancer and in doing so, bring hope to the world.”

According to the American Cancer Association, approximately 64,050 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and it is widely considered to be among the deadliest types of cancer, along with lung and colon cancer.

Hurtado de Mendoza and her team are researching a novel approach to treat pancreatic cancer with immunotherapies. Pancreatic cancer has a low mutational burden and an immunosuppressive microenvironment, making it more resistant to immunotherapies that have been transformational in treating many other types of cancer.

The goal of Hurtado de Mendoza’s research is to elicit an antitumor immune response in pancreatic tumors by delivering neoantigens followed by adoptive T cell transfer. Her team is also attempting to redirect pre-existing adaptive immune responses to eradicate endogenous tumors.

“I am so grateful to the Foundation For A Better World for their recognition and support,” said Hurtado de Mendoza, an assistant research scientist at Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health. “It is difficult to obtain funding as a new investigator working on non-conventional approaches; the Foundation gave me a unique opportunity by funding my research and continuing their support with this award.”

Tom and Beatriz Claugus created the Foundation For A Better World in 2013. Since then, the Foundation has devoted the majority of its time and efforts towards advancing medical research initiatives that seek to treat and cure neurodegenerative diseases. The Claugus Award is intended to foster direct relationships with researchers and institutions to highlight and catalyze groundbreaking and innovative work in the search for cures for debilitating diseases.


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