Pancreas Cancer Research Program

Establishing a Pancreas Cancer Research Program at the Medical College of Wisconsin

Full Project Name:Pancreas Cancer Research ProgramPrincipal Investigator:Gustavo Leone, PhD, BiochemistryCo-Investigator:Michael Dwinell, PhD, Micriobiology & Immunology, Surgery; Douglas Evans, MD, SurgeryAward Amount:$7,224,689
Award Date
February2018
Project Duration:60 months

Project Description Narrative:


Nationally the incidence of pancreatic cancer continues to increase and is predicted to be the second cause of cancer-related mortality by 2020. Milwaukee County is the most populated county in Wisconsin and has one of the highest incidence rates of pancreatic cancer in the United States. Pancreas cancer is difficult to treat, with only 6 in 100 patients alive five years after diagnosis. This project aims to bring together a team of scientists to make discoveries at the cellular level and translate those findings into new treatments to improve health outcomes.

Project Updates:


  • Increased collaborations of cancer research scientists to address aspects of pancreatic cancer from cells to the clinic
  • Established a model for creating "human avatars," a living bank of human pancreatic cancer and applied genomic and epigenomic methodologies to describe the existence of two different subpopulations of pancreatic cancer that have different outcomes
  • The subawards of this project published 13 manuscripts that moved the field forward
  • Convened the Pancreas Working Group to meet regularly and foster several clinical trials and publications

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