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Pancreatic Cancer

Cancer of the pancreas is one of the most lethal of all human malignancies. It is the fourth-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. Most pancreatic cancers begin in the enzyme-producing glands of the organ. These tumors have an especially high metastatic drive, or ability to spread through the body. Their unique biophysical properties also make them resistant to treatment.

A small percentage of pancreatic tumors arise in the hormone-producing glands of the pancreas and give rise to a less aggressive type of cancer. Early detection of pancreatic cancer is difficult because the disease generally presents no symptoms until the tumor grows large or spreads to other parts of the body. 

Fred Hutch researchers are studying the unique biology of pancreatic cancers to discover what makes these tumors so deadly, and they are translating their findings into new therapies that target the tumors’ defenses.
 

Researchers and Patient Treatments

Dr. Sunil Hingorani

Our Pancreatic Cancer Researchers

Our interdisciplinary scientists and clinicians work together to prevent, diagnose and treat pancreatic cancer as well as other cancers and diseases.

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Patient Treatment & Care

At Fred Hutch, our interdisciplinary teams work together to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Our aim is to provide patients access to advanced treatment options while getting the best cancer care.

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Selected Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Trials

Clinical research is an essential part of the scientific process that leads to new treatments and better care. Clinical trials can also be a way for patients to get early access to new cutting-edge therapies. Our clinical research teams are running clinical studies on various kinds of pancreatic cancer.

Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer

Metastatic cancer is when the disease has spread to another area of the body such as the liver, abdominal wall, lungs, bones or lymph nodes. This is also called stage IV cancer. Though the cancer has spread to other areas of the body, it is still called pancreatic cancer because that is where it started. Approximately 45 to 55 percent of patients are diagnosed with this stage.

View Metastatic Clinical Trial

Advanced MAPK Pathway-Altered Malignancies

The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway plays a role in the regulation of gene expression, cellular growth, and survival. Abnormal MAPK signaling may lead to increased or uncontrolled cell proliferation and resistance to apoptosis. Research into the MAPK pathway has shown it to be important in some cancers.

MAPK-Pathway Altered Clinical Trial

See All Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Trials

Pancreatic Cancer Research

Our scientists are working to pinpoint the genetic factors that spur the development and progression of pancreatic cancer, including its high metastatic drive. As we uncover the disease’s biomarkers, we’re opening the door to earlier detection. We’re also discovering the unique properties that make these tumors so resistant to traditional forms of treatment. Our lab-based findings translate to clinical trials of promising new treatments — from targeted drugs to genetically modified immune-cell therapies.  

Targeting Tumor Defenses

Our researchers collaborate with colleagues around the country to understand the biological context of pancreatic tumors. Nearby immune cells, blood vessels, and a tumor's internal pressure can make it resistant to treatment. We’re developing new therapies that target a tumor's defenses. They include treatment strategies that combine cancer-killing drugs with new agents that disrupt the tumor’s supportive tissues or alter the anti-cancer immune response.

New Targets for Tailored Treatment

A deeper understanding of the genetic changes found within various types of pancreatic cancer, and how these changes promote disease development and progression, could reveal new treatment targets. Our scientists are working to improve patient care by identifying specific tumor vulnerabilities and developing new therapies to better target them.

We are also part of a nationwide effort that aims to deliver the promise of precision medicine to patients with pancreatic cancer. With our collaborators, we are testing a fluid new form of a clinical trial in which pancreatic cancer patients receive the experimental treatment that researchers believe will best target their tumor. If needed, patients can later transition to other treatments that take aim at their tumor’s shifting biology. 

Pancreatic Cancer Research

Hutch scientists are working to pinpoint the genetic factors that spur the development and progression of pancreatic cancer, including its high metastatic drive. As we uncover the disease’s biomarkers, we’re opening the door to earlier detection. We’re also discovering the unique properties that make these tumors so resistant to traditional forms of treatment. Our lab-based findings translate to clinical trials of promising new treatments — from targeted drugs to genetically modified immune-cell therapies.  

Targeting Tumor Defenses

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Fred Hutch researchers collaborate with colleagues around the country to understand the biological context of pancreatic tumors. Nearby immune cells, blood vessels and the tumors’ internal pressure can make it resistant to treatment. We’re developing new therapies that target the tumors’ defenses. In our sights: treatment strategies that combine cancer-killing drugs with new agents that disrupt the tumor’s supportive tissues or alter the anti-cancer immune response.

New Targets for Tailored Treatment

+

A deeper understanding of the genetic changes found within various types of pancreatic cancer, and how these changes promote disease development and progression, could reveal new treatment targets. Our scientists are working to improve patient care by identifying specific tumor vulnerabilities and developing new therapies to better target them. 

We are also part of a nationwide effort that aims to deliver the promise of precision medicine to patients with pancreatic cancer. With collaborators across the country, Hutch investigators are testing a fluid new form of clinical trial in which pancreatic cancer patients receive the experimental treatment that researchers believe will best target their tumor. If needed, patients can later transition to other treatments that take aim at their tumor’s shifting biology. It’s a powerful way to put patients’ needs first while discovering the best way to combat pancreatic cancer.

Latest Pancreatic Cancer News

SEE ALL PANCREATIC CANCER NEWS
Highlights of Fred Hutch science in 2021 From COVID-19 to cancer, Hutch scientists pursued new ideas to save lives December 20, 2021
Science Says: Fearless science Immunotherapy, equity in colorectal cancer and the latest on the COVID-19 virus's omicron variant December 2, 2021
Liver cancer researcher Dr. Abir Arfaoui named latest Brave Fellow Running community honors late athlete Gabe Grunewald by funding rare cancer research at Fred Hutch October 6, 2021
Using AI to identify potential COVID-19, cancer therapies Early findings show current drugs might be repurposed to calm COVID-19’s cytokine storms, treat metastatic prostate cancer September 30, 2021
Last Modified, September 21, 2022