Mission & goals
The Pancreatic Cancer Alliance exists to support the efforts of the medical and research communities as well as patients and their loved ones in the battle against pancreatic cancer.
Our goals are:
- To raise money for research
- To help educate patients and medical professionals
- To raise public awareness of pancreatic cancer
- The UMass Pancreas Program has been created (www.umassmed.edu/pancreas) under the direction of Dr. Jennifer Tseng, a gifted surgeon who has dedicated her career to fighting pancreatic cancer. Dr. Tseng was recruited to UMass as the Pancreatic Cancer Alliance Scholar, a position funded through Alliance contributions.
- Two surgical residents are working with Dr. Tseng on projects designed to improve the quality of life for pancreatic cancer patients and to develop methods to ensure the optimal treatment course is selected for each patient. Surgical Outcomes Analysis & Research (SOAR)
- We also helped purchase a Xenogen Ivis imaging system to aid in the study of pancreatic cancer in the mouse model developed by Dr. Brian Lewis. Dr. Lewis' lab at UMass is focused identifying correlations between specific genetic changes, tumor behavior and signal pathways in cancer. Click here for more on his work.
Awareness: We've held a number of events, including two medical symposia, in addition to fundraisers. Each has been designed to make more people aware of the neglect pancreatic cancer has suffered and to bring more resources to bear in this fight. Click here for more information on upcoming events.
To fulfill our mission, we are pursuing the following:
Translational research: To raise seed money to recruit and support a physician-researcher at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. This person would be charged with developing clinical trials specifically for pancreatic cancer to use research knowledge from the labs at UMass and elsewhere to create new treatments to help patients at the bedside. Initial goal: $600,000.
Educational: To create materials for newly diagnosed patients for distribution to medical offices, libraries, and health agencies and to offer support resources to patients and their families. Components covering the genetic causes of the disease and additional resources for patients and families are being added to this web site as well.
Endowed position: To support the creation of an endowed position at the UMass Medical School dedicated to the fight against pancreatic cancer. Need: $1.5 million.
The Alliance began with a research briefing at UMass in October 2003 attended by family members, caregivers and patients. There, UMass clinicians and researchers showed what's being done to fight pancreatic cancer right in Central Massachusetts, and we learned what can be done to support them. For a newspaper story about that meeting, please click here.
The initial briefing was the product of a discussion between Dr. Altieri and Tom Cole, who lost his mother to pancreatic cancer in February 2003 and wanted to know what could be done to get more research attention paid to pancreatic cancer. Read about Dr. Altieri here in a newspaper profile.
Public awareness is crucial for pancreatic cancer researchBy Brian P. Davis
There is a national tragedy that no one is talking about. This story does not make headlines. You will not see it on the evening news or hear about it on the radio. It is usually mentioned in the obituary section of the local newspaper. Yet its impact is felt by countless people in all 50 states. This stealth killer moves quickly and without apparent reason. Yet few take notice until it is too late.
I know this killer all too well. I was formally introduced to it on January 24, 2002. I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that day. Little compares with receiving such grave news. I was lucky, though. My tumor was operable. Surgery provides the only hope for cure from this horrific illness, yet is possible in only 10 percent to 15 percent of pancreatic cancer cases. continued ...
(Brian's struggle ended Sept. 17, 2005.)
Click here for pdf version of Brian's piece..
Oped published May 23, 2005, Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Alliance in the news
Team focus: Digestive tract tumors — UMass Center names scholar
UMass asst. prof wins $150,000 to do research, MD to study pancreatic cancer.
Worcester group takes on silent killer, from WCTR-3, New England Cable News (video)
Researchers Find New Key In Pancreatic Cancer WCVB, Channel 5, Boston. Video also available.