Pancreatic cancer, though rare, is swiftly becoming the second deadliest cancer in the USA. Its rather quiet development often leads to diagnosis at later-stage, limiting surgical options, which are currently the only curative treatment for this malignancy. Despite common recurrence even after surgery, the 5-year survival rate has nearly doubled in the last decade, from 7% to 13%. Factors such as aging, early-onset diabetes, obesity, smoking, chronic pancreatitis, and genetic predispositions increase the risk for development of pancreatic cancer. Certain populations exhibit higher susceptibility or aggressive manifestation, including patients with various hereditary syndromes. Recognizing cancer as systemic, the multidisciplinary team at the Marvin & Concetta Greenberg Pancreatic Cancer Institute takes a holistic research-based approach, aiming to better understand the clinical needs as well as the biological, cultural, behavioral, genetic, and environmental factors that alter means for future patient treatments.

Our team comprises some of the worlds leading investigators and clinicians, specializing in three main research pillars: Clinical, Population Science, and Basic/Laboratory research.

As part of our collective research efforts, we have distinctively unified, a retrospective multi-level database for pancreatic cancer research at Fox Chase. This database combines medical, radiation, and surgical oncology data with geospatial and demographic information on Fox Chase patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The current data dates as far back as 2010 and continues to be updated with present-day patient data. Hundreds of variables are being captured within this database, including, but not limited to, clinical, demographic, neighborhood, behavioral, as well as genetic information.

In a pivotal academic and clinical pursuit, our team is investigating various treatment interventions in both the neoadjuvant (pre-surgical) setting, and the setting of metastatic disease. This is possible due to collaborative efforts among surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, alongside basic and population scientists at the Greenberg Institute. The institute’s collaborative and multidisciplinary approach, allows the collection and analysis of tissue samples for the evaluation of the patient’s unique genetics and other key molecular characteristics, together with their clinical history, and additional factors that could potentially influence patient outcomes. Ultimately, our team aims to better understand the distinctive effects of clinical interventions. Importantly, lessons learned collectively will inform future treatment strategies, and impend studies to further improve outcomes of patients with this aggressive disease.