Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States, for men and women. In a single year, more than 43,000 Americans will be diagnosed with the disease, with another 39,000 dying from it. Despite widespread progress on other types of cancer in recent decades, the overall incidence and mortality rates for pancreatic cancer have changed very little.
Without an effective screening method for pancreatic cancer, diagnosis often comes late when the cancer has advanced into a stage where treatment is more difficult. By that time, pancreatic cancer is typically in an aggressive stage. Surgery, for instance, offers people the greatest chance at survival, but diagnosis often comes only after the cancer has spread to areas surrounding the organ. Finally, pancreatic cancer is particularly resistant to chemotherapy and radiation, and there has been little treatment progress of late.
We are at the forefront of research on pancreatic cancer
Led by a multidisciplinary team of scientists and clinicians, our research program holds the promise to significantly change the dismal statistics associated with this disease by revolutionizing pancreatic cancer care. The team is attacking the disease on a variety of fronts. Learn more about pancreatic cancer research by visiting our Pancreatic Cancer Center Research webpages.
Clinical Trials and Other Research Programs
Access to clinical trials
Doctors may suggest that patients consider participating in a clinical trial (a research study) for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. Some clinical trials offer investigational therapies (promising drugs or other treatments) that are given in combination with standard therapy for pancreatic cancer. Talk to your doctor about clinical trials, and view a list of pancreatic cancer clinical trials underway at the University of Michigan.
Gastrointestinal Oncology Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE)
In December, 2010, the Gastrointestinal Oncology Program (of which pancreatic cancer is a part) was awarded a Gastrointestinal Oncology SPORE grant. This allows our researchers to explore many different avenues (including stem cell research) to combat this difficult cancer. It also means they can quickly move what proves to be successful in the laboratory to patients in the clinic.
Stem Cell Research
U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center scientists are studying stem cells in pancreatic cancer, looking for new and more effective treatments for patients with this deadly disease.
Learn about our pancreatic cancer stem cell research.
Still have questions?
The nurses at Cancer AnswerLine™ have answers. Call 1-800-865-1125 and you'll get a personal response from one of our registered nurses, who have years of experience in caring for people with cancer.