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Jefferson Department of Surgery announces new pancreas tumor registry

PHILADELPHIA Charles J. Yeo, M.D., Samuel D. Gross Professor and Chair, Department of Surgery at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, announces the establishment of the new Jefferson Pancreas Tumor Registry (JPTR).

"The purpose of the registry is to further study whether pancreatic cancer occurs more frequently in families with a history of the disease," said Dr. Yeo, who is the principal investigator of JPTR. "It will also be used to determine the environmental and occupational risk factors to which pancreatic cancer patients have been exposed."

The JPTR modeled after the National Familial Pancreas Tumor Registry is a longitudinal study in which participants may engage in long-term follow-up and receive information regarding scientific and epidemiological breakthroughs in pancreatic cancer.

Participants are asked to complete a detailed questionnaire and may be asked to submit a blood sample and/or cheek swab. The questionnaires are designed to elicit the family health history of a patient with pancreatic cancer or a non-affected family member, and to document exposure to occupational and environmental factors, such as residential radon, asbestos and second-hand tobacco smoke.

Research has shown that certain rare genetic conditions are associated with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer, including familial breast-ovarian cancer, familial melanoma, familial colon cancer, hereditary pancreatitis and Peutz-Jegher's syndrome (a rare hereditary condition that results in gastrointestinal polyps). "While we have not identified a causative gene yet to allow predictive testing for pancreatic cancer, we can offer risk assessments and surveillance via imaging, blood tests and endoscopic ultrasound for patients with a strong family history of pancreatic cancer," added Dr. Yeo.

Such high risk patients may be referred to a Jefferson gastroenterologist to discuss the pros and cons of invasive surveillance. The goal is to diagnose pancreatic cancer earlier, when more treatment options are available. For persons who do develop pancreatic cancer, Jefferson physicians may use the results of genetic testing to select the most effective therapy. Targeted therapy for pancreatic cancer is becoming a reality, in part due to recent discoveries made in the laboratory of Jonathan Brody, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Surgery at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, where molecular studies have clearly indicated survival advantages with the use of targeted chemotherapy.


Contact: Ed Federico
Thomas Jefferson University

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