HALTING PANCREATIC CANCER goes beyond finding treatments. It requires a comprehensive approach: non-invasive tests to catch it early; molecular studies to understand how it evolves; and using those insights to create targeted therapies. That’s how we will improve a survival rate that remains stubbornly low—around 10 percent overall and closer to three percent for those with metastatic disease.
Halting this disease also demands a team approach–the kind we use at Indiana University School of Medicine.
More than 20 faculty members at IU Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center—surgeons, oncologists, laboratory scientists and biostatisticians—make up a Pancreatic Cancer Challenges and Solutions Working Group dedicated to seeking solutions. They have created nuanced models that mimic the environment around a tumor, and those models have helped identify potential drug targets.
The group reached an exciting milestone this year.
In October, the team applied for a Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant from the National Institutes of Health. Only six institutions nationwide have earned that distinction, which is reserved for programs that show stellar collaboration and whose ideas move seamlessly between the lab bench and the patient’s bedside. If awarded, the IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center would lead the only pancreatic cancer SPORE in the Midwest, joining an elite group that includes the Mayo Clinic, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, and M.D. Anderson.
Your generous support helps us assemble a top-flight team, equip them with the latest tools, and support bold ideas early. Together, we are making IU a national leader in pancreatic cancer research and treatment. And above all, we’re making discoveries with the potential to save lives. Here’s a glimpse at where we want to go next.