The Pancreatic Cancer Specialty Clinic (PCSC) defines a new standard of care for people with pancreatic cancer or pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) and seeks to minimize the obstacles that patients and their families may encounter in navigating a complex medical system.
The PCSC has a dedicated team of surgical, medical, and radiation oncologists, radiologists, and pathologists, as well as nurses, symptom management and pain specialists, nutritionists, physical therapists, and social workers, all singularly devoted to the clinic’s mission.
In 2009, an international team of investigators, including SCCA’s Sunil R. Hingorani, MD, PhD, and his research team, discovered an unexpected mechanism that potentially explains why pancreatic cancers are so resistant to all commonly used chemotherapies. Building upon these results, Dr. Hingorani’s team has been working to develop entirely new strategies for targeting this disease.
Hingorani’s team recently found that administering an enzyme/chemotherapy combination results in rapid reduction of the interstitial fluid pressure, which in turn opens up the blood vessels and permits chemotherapy to reach the tumor. The results, published in the March 2012 issue of Cancer Cell, show that combining gemcitabine, the current standard chemotherapy used to treat pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas, with an enzyme called PEGPH20 “represents the largest survival increase we’ve seen in any of the studies done in a preclinical model, and it rivals the very best results reported in humans,” Dr. Hingorani said. (Read more about the latest clinical trial based on this study.)
SCCA was formed, in part, to bring promising new treatments to patients faster. For people with pancreatic cancer or pancreatic NETs, this may mean more treatment options at SCCA than you might find elsewhere, including the chance to participate in clinical trials conducted at SCCA and its founding organizations, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and UW Medicine.