Predictive Test for Individualized Chemotherapy Selection

Developing a predictive test to assist in selection of a chemotherapeutic regimen with the highest efficacy for individual pancreatic cancer patients to improve clinical care of pancreatic cancer and survival of patients

Full Project Name:Development of Predictive Test for Chemotherapy Selection for Individual Pancreatic Cancer PatientsPrincipal Investigator:Marja T. Nevalainen, MD, PhD, PathologyCo-Investigator:Andrew Greene, PhD, Biomedical Engineering; Susan Tsai, MD, Surgical OncologyAward Amount:$200,000
Award Date
January2019
Project Duration:24 months

Project Description Narrative:


Pancreatic cancer ranks as the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S., with a median survival of six months and a five-year survival rate of 3 to 5 percent. In Wisconsin, the incidence of pancreatic cancer is significantly higher than the national average, and Milwaukee County has one of the highest rates of pancreatic cancer mortality in the U.S. While improvements have been discovered in the cancer treatments of other tumors, the survival of patients with pancreatic cancer has remained largely unchanged. Individual pancreatic cancers differ in their responsiveness to chemotherapeutic regimens, and no tools currently exist to help choose between regimens. Chemotherapy is crucial for the successful treatment of pancreatic cancer, making it essential that the chemotherapeutic regimen chosen has the highest efficacy for individual patients.

Through this project, investigators seek to develop a novel predictive model system to assist doctors in identifying the optimal chemotherapy for individual pancreatic cancer patients.

Project Updates:


• Tested fourteen individual pancreatic cancers from patients for responsiveness to either 5-FU or Gemcitabine-based chemotherapy

• Tested several different culture platforms developed by collaborators for development of the culture platform toward high-throughput device that could be commercialized for diagnostic/predictive chemosensitivity testing

• Started the process of applying the culture system to liver metasteses with a collaborator, and began preparing a manuscript to report findings

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