With a focus on supporting development of an early detection test for pancreatic cancer, the Seena Magowitz Foundation has presented $1 million to the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen). Dr. Daniel Von Hoff, a world leader in research and drug development, leads TGen’s pancreatic cancer research efforts.

Through the Seena Magowitz Golf Classic, a well-known and well-attended annual charity event in the home furnishings industry, the Magowitz Foundation brings together industry leaders from across the country in support of pancreatic cancer research and treatment. Gary T. Fazio, who recently announced his retirement as CEO of Serta Simmons Bedding LLC, chaired this year’s 13th annual golf classic held in Orlando.

Roger E. Magowitz, President of the Seena Magowitz Foundation, praised Fazio for playing a key role in helping make this year’s golf event the most successful ever, helping generate substantial contributions and much needed attention to the challenges facing patients, families, doctors and researchers battling pancreatic cancer on many fronts.

“This disease usually is not diagnosed until its late stages, when it is very difficult to treat,” Magowitz said. “Gary’s extraordinary efforts engaged everyone at Serta and Simmons, and many throughout the home furnishing industry, to enlist in this cause and pave the way for TGen to find new ways that pancreatic cancer can be detected early and bring renewed hope to pancreatic cancer patients.”

During a recent furniture market meeting in Las Vegas, Gary Fazio’s successor, Michael Traub, recently named President of Serta Simmons Bedding, joined other senior officials of Serta Simmons to recognize Fazio’s leadership and accomplishments. While there, they were joined by Magowitz to present Dr. Von Hoff and other TGen officials with a check for $1 million from the Magowitz Foundation, including $600,000 raised by Serta Simmons.

This year, pancreatic cancer will take the lives of more than 40,000 Americans, making it the nation’s fourth leading cause of cancer-related death. Median survival for patients with advanced disease is less than 6 months following diagnosis, and the 5-year survival rate is less than 10 percent for all patients. Pancreatic cancer’s lethal nature stems from its propensity to rapidly spread to distant organs, especially the liver and the lungs. Survival remains low partly because no early screening test exists.

Under Dr. Von Hoff’s leadership, TGen has made major progress in treating pancreatic cancer, most notably through the work of its Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) Pancreatic Cancer Dream Team, (co-led by Dr. Von Hoff) and its clinical research. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2013 approved the use of albumin-bound paclitaxel (Abraxane) in combination with gemcitabine as a front-line therapy for patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. The Seena Magowitz Foundation helped fund the Abraxane pancreatic cancer clinical trials.

“Thanks to Roger Magowitz and the Seena Magowitz Foundation, Gary Fazio, Serta Simmons, and our many supporters across the home furnishings industry, we have made significant progress against pancreatic cancer,” said TGen Foundation President Michael Bassoff. “We at TGen look forward to putting this additional support to work immediately on early detection and better treatments for the patients who need our help today.”

Major sponsors of this year’s event were: Serta, Simmons, Mattress Firm, Leggett & Platt, Sleep Inc, and Tempur Sealy.