The University of North Carolina (UNC) Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center has established the Pancreatic Cancer Center of Excellence to bring together cancer center faculty with a broad range of expertise—from laboratory, translational, and clinical research to drug development, biostatistics, biomedical engineering, and pharmacology to medical, radiation, and surgical oncology—to focus on pancreatic cancer, one of the most aggressive and difficult-to-treat cancers.
Led by Autumn McRee, MD, a gastrointestinal medical oncologist, and Jen Jen Yeh, MD, a surgical oncologist, the center’s mission is to provide multidisciplinary patient care and generate research discoveries that can be translated into new, more effective approaches and, ultimately, cures for pancreatic cancer.
Autumn McRee, MD
Jen Jen Yeh, MD
“The UNC Lineberger Pancreatic Cancer Center of Excellence formally brings together an outstanding group of researchers, clinicians, and staff. Even though we are on one campus, we will have an even more unified and integrated way to think about pancreatic cancer,” said Dr. Yeh, who is Oliver Smithies Investigator and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Surgery. “We now will have an infrastructure to connect people and integrate innovative research findings with clinical care. This will enable us to diagnose pancreatic cancer better, develop new treatments, and make better treatment decisions and improve quality of life.”
Chasing a ‘Truly Unrelenting Cancer’
Although the incidence of some cancers has declined in the United States during the past few decades, the number of pancreatic cancer cases has been increasing since 2000. Pancreatic cancer has the lowest 5-year survival rate of all major cancers. Only 1 in 10 people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer today will still be alive in 5 years.
“Pancreatic cancer is a truly unrelenting cancer, and until we can develop different approaches for early detection and for better local and systemic therapy, the outcomes will continue to be totally unacceptable,” said UNC Lineberger Director Shelley Earp, MD. “Our investment in the Center of Excellence leverages UNC Lineberger’s basic science, genomics, immunotherapy, biomedical engineering, and clinical strengths to blaze a new path toward better patient-centered care and outcomes.”