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Clinical and Translational Research

Information on clinical trials is available at

Clinical and Translational Research

UMass Pancreas Tumor Registry

Dr. Giles Whalen and Mary Sullivan, DNP and the SOAR group are maintaining a prospective pancreas database. This database is a prospective registry of all patients seen at UMass/Memorial Healthcare for pancreatic neoplasms. By pooling the collective experience of these patients, we hope to improve our knowledge of the epidemiology and natural history of their disease.

Quality of Life in Pancreatic Disease

The SOAR group is conducting an IRB-approved study evaluating the effect of pancreatic diseases on patients’ health-related quality of life. Diseases of the pancreas are often accompanied by disabling symptoms as well as invasive treatments. An important aspect of patients’ medical decision-making is a consideration of anticipated health-related quality of life while undergoing therapy. The goal of our study is to increase the medical community’s knowledge of the impact of pancreatic disease and its treatment. This information can then be used to counsel future patients regarding their expectations for treatment, and help them make more informed treatment decisions – we believe this is critical for maximizing their health-related quality of life.

Biomarker Discovery for Pancreatic Cancer

Principal Investigator: Jennifer F. Tseng, MD, MPH

Early detection of pancreatic cancer will save lives. Other major cancers have non-invasive screening methods that are incorporated into national guidelines and used routinely. It is time for pancreatic cancer patients to have that same opportunity.

Purpose of Research
There are no dependable screening tests for pancreatic cancer nor are there tests to help determine which patients will respond to standard treatment. To combat this problem, UMass researchers have begun to recruit patients with pancreatic cancer and other pancreaticobiliary diseases for a novel, IRB-approved proteomic project. Through this research, we hope to discover:

  • biomarkers for pancreatic cancer that can make earlier diagnosis a reality
  • reliable ways to predict how patients will respond to treatment

We are using novel discovery systems including proteomics and microRNA analysis to identify possible biomarkers for pancreatic cancer. Proteomics is cutting edge science. Just as genomic studies help us understand the complexities of gene function, proteomic studies help us comprehend the intricacies of the proteins that make up our cells. Understanding complex protein function is key to identifying and developing diagnostic techniques and disease treatments. Through a collaboration with Victor Ambros, PhD, of Molecular Medicine, we are looking at microRNAs in pancreatic cancer patients and normal controls to discover biomarkers for pancreatic cancer diagnosis and treatment.

How to Participate
Patients with pancreatic cancer and other pancreaticobiliary diseases who agree to sign a consent form, can have blood, fluid and tissue samples from their surgery banked. If a patient wishes to bank only blood, a few tubes of blood (approximately 4 tablespoons) can be donated. Samples will be processed and stored for analysis.

Who to Contact
To participate or to learn more about this research please contact us at (508) 856 8663 or email