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.
 

A pancreatic cancer tissue scan.
A pancreatic cancer tissue scan. Fred Hutch

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 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.

Hingorani Lab

Dr. Sunil Hingorani leads a lab known around the world for its breakthrough research into pancreatic cancer. His team was the first to develop a model of the disease that replicates the genetic progression of human cancer from its inception to its advanced stages. This achievement led to remarkable insights, which Hingorani and his team are now translating into clinical trials to evaluate new treatments for this deadly disease.

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.

 

See All Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Trials

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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

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, our clinical care partner, gives patients access to the comprehensive, world-class treatments developed at Fred Hutch.

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Last Modified, September 03, 2019