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Pancreatic Cancer Immunotherapy Clinical Trials at Penn Medicine: Moving Beyond Chemotherapy

March 8, 2020

I momentarily forgot that I had cancer And I hadn’t done that you know for a good 18 months It’s given me a way to function or feel
as normal as I can possibly feel, As opposed to constantly feeling like I’m
fighting myself. I have Pancreatic Cancer and this is a trial to find a
drug that’s less difficult to take, as far as meanness. Just in the last couple
of years pancreatic cancer has become the third leading cause of cancer death
in the United States overtaking breast cancer It affects about 50,000 people in
the United States each year. The sad reality is that most of those
individuals won’t be alive five years after the time of diagnosis. We feel a
great sense of urgency Really an emergency that we figure out how to move
the standard of care forward Both patients that are found earlier with
both for improved screening and detection and for those patients for whom surgery is not
an option we want to have better strategies to deal with this clinical emergency the Penn pancreatic cancer Research Center is a multidisciplinary center where we’re trying to attack the problem of pancreatic cancer from
multiple different angles. this includes doctors nurses surgeons clinical
researchers bench researchers all working together to try to understand
the biology of the disease to put in Place better therapies for patients for
better outcome. Here’s the answer invading into the wall of the intestine Decades before us clinical trials where sometimes seen as a last resort We’re trying to change that We are encouraging our patients to join
our clinical trials as the first therapy Clinical trial is the state of the art therapy, new drugs new immune therapies gene therapy. things beyond chemotherapy and surgery and radiation going along with that philosophy is what we call hope for all stages. Which means
that regardless of which stage of disease an individual patient has we
have a trial for that person. It’s much much easier than coming for chemotherapy. I have have very little side effects to this, it’s only an half an hour and it’s just way better It’s very exciting to be able to come and not feel bad One of our major priorities is helping patients
navigate the very scary and difficult time after their initial diagnosis We have in place a team including a very very talented nurse navigator She’s expert at helping guide patients do they need to see a gastroenterologist first, do they need to see a surgeon first? The care needs to be
multidisciplinary for the patient. making sure everyone’s involved and integrated
is really important, we work so closely together we know each other so well we
have the same mission and we can make change happen quickly What I say is you know we don’t cure high blood pressure, we treat it We don’t cure diabetes, we
treat it. And we’re trying to turn cancer, even pancreatic cancer into more of a chronic illness. So I plan my treatments around life. My basic mantra is the better you live the longer you live And I actually think our outcomes are better
not just because our treatments are better But because our care is better. I like this job because it gives me the opportunity to have an impact I can use what we learn about how cancer operates To develop better therapies and actually
make a difference in people’s lives

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