Pancreatic Cancer Research

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Pancreatic cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Mortality from this type of cancer is extremely high, with a five-year survival rate of about four percent.

At Mayo Clinic, leading physicians and clinical researchers are actively developing innovative treatments and studies, including cutting edge therapies, as well as protocols for different types of cancer for patients who have exhausted conventional treatment options.

As part of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, this research combines the experience of cancer specialists at all three Mayo Clinic locations in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota.

Additionally, physicians and researchers at Mayo Clinic Arizona are members of the:

  • Pancreatic Cancer Research Team,
  • Phase I and Proof of Concept Program, and
  • Phase II Consortium.

Pancreatic Cancer Research Team

The Pancreatic Cancer Research Team is a collaborative group of international researchers focused developing innovative new treatments for cancer patients. The team provides targeted therapy, working to identify patients with certain types of pancreatic cancer that may respond well to specific treatments for a number of reasons.

Among other things, the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is working closely with Mayo specialists to determine whether genetic mutations or deficiencies can make pancreatic tumors more sensitive to specific medications. Such innovative new treatments fall into two categories:

  • Phase I treatments, which have not yet been tested in human beings, and
  • Phase II treatments, which are safe and tolerable but have not yet been tested for patients with pancreatic cancer.

Phase I and Proof of Concept Program

This developmental program focuses on new drug development for a large number of patients with cancers of different types that have exhausted conventional treatment options and is spearheaded by Mayo Clinic in collaboration with TGen.

The first drug offered through this program will be a new treatment for hepato cellular carcinoma, or liver cancer.

Phase II Consortium

The Phase II Consortium, supported by the National Cancer Institute, consists of leading medical providers nationwide, and pioneers cutting-edge cancer treatments that have been demonstrated to be safe and tolerable, but have not yet been used in pancreatic cancer patients. Mayo Clinic places 20 to 30 patients each year on these studies.