The Andrew L. Warshaw, MD, Institute for Pancreatic Cancer Research at Massachusetts General Hospital is a collaborative of scientists, oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists and interventional endoscopists whose mission is to extend and improve the lives of patients with pancreatic cancer.
Dr. Sarah Thayer and Dr. Andrew Warshaw, MD
The Andrew L. Warshaw Institute for Pancreatic Cancer Research develops innovative and comprehensive diagnostic and treatment options for all forms of pancreatic cancer.
The institute’s core faculty members are nationally and internationally recognized as leaders in their disciplines. They work closely with hundreds of clinicians and scientists at the Mass General Cancer Center, which has one of the largest clinical pancreatic cancer programs in the country and offers treatment options available at few other hospitals.
Pancreatic cancer is rare but aggressive. Most patients do not experience symptoms until after the cancer invades other organs. At that point, surgery is often not possible and treatment options are limited.
Our goal is to change this discouraging picture for pancreatic cancer patients. The institute is pursuing an ambitious program to learn what we need to know to slow down or eradicate the disease. Cancer genetics, new imaging technologies and molecular profiling are just a few examples of areas we are pursuing.
Making a Difference in the Lives of Pancreatic Cancer Patients
The institute bears the name of its director, Andrew L. Warshaw, MD, Surgeon-in-Chief, Emeritus, of the Mass General Department of Surgery. Dr. Warshaw is an eminent researcher and surgeon who has spent much of his career trying to understand and treat pancreatic cancer. Launched in 2008, the institute draws on a unique set of resources:
- Renowned Mass General researchers in a wide range of fields, including surgery, pathology, molecular medicine, stem cell therapy, oncology, radiation therapy and cancer genetics
- Clinicians dedicated to bringing research results to patients in the form of new therapies
- More than 35 years of multidisciplinary collaboration with experts all over the world
- Funding for innovative, cutting-edge work from private and federal sources
Learn more about pancreatic cancer
These resources provide an unprecedented opportunity for the Institute to make a difference in the lives of pancreatic cancer patients.
Four Steps to New Therapies for Pancreatic Cancer To develop new therapies for patients, the Institute is following these steps:
1. Study the biological pathways by which pancreatic cancer develops. What genetic alterations does it undergo, for example, to make it so aggressive? Why do these alterations occur?
2. Apply the knowledge of pancreatic cancer biology to all the different types of pancreatic cancer. Each variant acts differently, and each variant can teach us something about the other types
3. Create “smart drugs” targeted at each specific pancreatic cancer mutation.
4. Develop far more sensitive screening tests to detect a cancer before it grows large enough to invade other organs