Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Harvard Medical School

Principal Investigator: Brian M. Wolpin, M.D., M.P.H.
Institution: Dana Farber Cancer Institute; Harvard Medical School

Member Information

View publications by Wolpin

Laboratory website https://halecenter.dfci.harvard.edu/investigators/brian-m-wolpin-md-mph/

Contact E-mails
Study PI:
Brian M. Wolpin, M.D., M.P.H.

Study Project Managers:
Lauren Brais, M.P.H.

Marisa Welch, B.S.

Synopsis of Research and Network Resources

Title of the PCDC Project



Pancreatic cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. Over 80% of patients present with incurable disease, and the vast majority live for <12 months. The high mortality of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), the most common form of pancreatic cancer, is largely a consequence of diagnosis at an advanced stage when the tumor is no longer resectable for cure. However, symptoms rarely develop with early disease, and established risk factors for PDAC, such as tobacco smoking, obesity, chronic pancreatitis, diabetes, and family history of PDAC, are insufficient to risk stratify the population for disease screening. Experimental studies indicate that more than a decade elapses from formation of the founder malignant clone to a patient's diagnosis, suggesting a window of opportunity for early detection. Nevertheless, no early detection markers have advanced to clinical use, in part, because little infrastructure has been developed to facilitate rigorous investigation of promising candidates. To address the critical goal of PDAC early detection, we have brought together investigators with a long track-record of collaborative innovation to form the Pancreatic Cancer Circulating Biomarker (Pan-C2-Bio) Consortium. Within this Consortium, we join ongoing patient biospecimen collection at five large cancer centers with highly promising early detection technologies and sophisticated modeling to define a non-invasive PDAC screening strategy.

Description of the Project

We join together five large cancer centers with a track-record of innovation and collaboration to accomplish three primary goals: (1) generate thoroughly-annotated human and murine sample banks for testing of early detection markers, (2) rigorously evaluate highly promising early detection markers for near-term clinical utility, and (3) construct risk stratification models to integrate early detection markers into screening programs for high-risk groups and the general population. Thus, the goal of this proposal to is reduce pancreatic cancer mortality by diagnosing the cancer when it is still at an early stage and amenable to curative treatments. 

Five cancer centers are pooling patient data and samples for this collaboration, including Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Boston, MA), Columbia University Medical Center (New York, NY), Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (Boston, MA), Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston, MA), and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (New York, NY). The investigators involved in this project have long track records of expertise in several important areas related to pancreatic cancer, including clinical care, biospecimen banking, biomarker development, and risk modeling. The work proposed by the Pan-C2-Bio Consortium will deliver much-needed biospecimen resources for early detection studies, provide evidence for (or against) the utility of highly promising PDAC early detection technologies, and demonstrate how new biomarkers can be integrated with previously characterized risk factors to identify individuals for disease screening. With this work, we look to reduce mortality from pancreatic cancer by identifying those at highest risk and diagnosing subclinical disease when curative therapies can be applied.  

Resources for Sharing

We are generating thoroughly-annotated human and murine sample banks for testing of early detection markers. Plasma samples will be collected serially from several genetically-engineered mouse models of pancreatic cancer to model the stages of tumorigenesis. The human sample bank will include data and plasma from patients with pancreatic cancer, chronic pancreatitis, cystic lesions of the pancreas, familial risk for pancreatic cancer, and healthy controls.

Opportunities for Collaboration

Please contact the study PI or project managers at the e-mail addresses provided above to discuss collaborations.