The Rob Lutterman Memorial Fund
Ski for a Cure

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Rob Lutterman

On July 28th 1999, Rob Lutterman lost his battle with pancreatic cancer; he was 63. Later, his family and a group of special friends decided to create an annual ski day to celebrate life, to raise money for cancer research and, most importantly, to commemorate Rob, who was an avid skier. The Rob Lutterman Memorial Fund at the Cancer Research Society was created to promote and fund research into pancreatic cancer, the first fund of its kind at the Society to support this type of cancer.  Help us reach our financial objective of $62,500, which would allow a new research grant to be awarded in 2022. With the continuous support of donors, the hope for a cure is possible. Since 2000, the funding of promising research, as well as future pioneering work in the field, is made possible through the Ski for a Cure event and donations received throughout the year.

  • In the early 2000’s, pancreatic cancer research was very limited. To attract the attention of researchers to pancreatic cancer research, the Society together with the Lutterman family – who had created the first pancreatic cancer research fund at the Cancer Research Society -- decided to increase the grant amounts to $300,000 over two years and that kick-started research into what was then known as the “silent killer”. Since that date, the number of applications increased drastically as well as the quality of the research projects submitted.
  • From 2005 to 2009, the Cancer Research Society received 35 applications for pancreatic cancer research. Thanks to the Rob Lutterman Memorial Fund and the Ski for a Cure event, the Society awarded two strategic grants of $300,000 to members of the scientific community. The first grant went to Dr. Norman Kneteman at the University of Alberta and a second one to Dr. Michel L. Tremblay and his team from the Goodman Centre at McGill University in Montreal.
  • During the next five years (2010-2014), the Lutterman family’s and friends’ efforts and the donations received through Ski for a Cure began to pay off. Interest for pancreatic cancer research in the Canadian scientific community was growing exponentially. With the Rob Lutterman Memorial Fund and other partners like the Kathryn Jeanne randle Endowement Fund, the Cancer Research Society offered additional grants targeting pancreatic cancer. Fifty (50) applications were received and 14 grants awarded, including four (4) co-funded with the the Rob Lutterman Memorial Fund. These four grants were awarded to Dr. Nathalie Coburn from the Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre, Dr. Ralph Da Costa from the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and the Lesly Dan Faculty of Pharmacy (University of Toronto), Dr. Raymond Reilly from the University of Toronto and, Dr. Christopher Pin from the University of Western Ontario.
  • From 2015-2018, the Cancer Research Society continued its dedication to pancreatic cancer research with the precious support of Rob Lutterman Memorial Fund and other partners. During this 4-year period, 67 applications were received, and 13 grants awarded, including two (2) owing to the invaluable support of Ski for a Cure and the Rob Lutterman Memorial Fund.
  • Recently (2018), a significant breakthrough was made by some renowned Canadian scientists among whom Dr. George Zogopoulos, who received funding from the Rob Lutterman Memorial Fund in 2010-2013 as a co-applicant of Dr. Michel L. Tremblay at the McGill Goodman Centre. These researchers have found it now possible to improve the survival rate of certain patients with an inoperable advanced stage cancer by administering a treatment adapted to their cancer sub-type. This practice is called “personalized medicine”. Thanks to personalized medicine, researchers are hoping that in a few years’ time, pancreatic cancer will become a chronic disease rather than the deadly disease it is now, with a 1-year survival rate of less than 10%.


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Patricia Soulard
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