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Last Updated: 09/21/23

Pancreatic SPOREs

Pancreatic cancer is the cause of about 8% of the cancer deaths in the United States according to the NCI Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program. Approximately 64,050 newly diagnosed cases and an estimated 50,550 deaths are expected in the United States in the year 2023. Surgery, radiation, and chemotherapies are treatment options that can extend survival and/or relieve symptoms in these patients, but seldom produce a cure. Patients with cancers of the pancreas have a particularly poor prognosis, as mortality for this cancer is extremely high (5-year survival rate of only 11% for people diagnosed between 2011 and 2017). Two pancreatic cancer SPOREs were awarded in 2022 to investigators at the University of North Carolina and the Memorial Sloan Kettering cancer center. These SPOREs are conducting a wide array of projects that focus on developing new targeted therapies, immunotherapies, and on predicting how a given patient will respond to different therapies. In addition, some of the researchers supported by the GI SPOREs are also focusing on pancreatic cancer. A third pancreatic cancer SPORE was awarded to Washington University in 2023. These investigators are focusing on two different immunotherapy approaches as well as developing targeted therapy against MK2, a kinase responsible for a critical survival mechanism in pancreatic cancer.