Penn Pancreatic Cancer Research Center

  • PCRC Team at PurpleStride November 4, 2017 (Kneeling in front row, PCRC Director Dr. Ben Z. Stanger and team captain Trish Gambino, RN)

  • Murine pancreatic tumor with cancer cells stained in green (YFP), nuclei in blue (DAPI) and collagen in purple - Captured by Nicole Aiello (Stanger Lab)

  • The PCRC Team at The Lustgarten Foundation walk November 6, 2016 in Pennsauken, NJ

  • Pancreatic tumor cells stained for YFP (cyan), E - Cadherin (red), Cytokeratin-19 (green), with nuclei counterstained with DAPI (blue) - Amine Sahmoud (Stanger Lab)

  • Pancreatic cancer cells dividing (light blue), 40x magnification - captured by David Bajor (Vonderheide Lab)

Welcome to the Penn Pancreatic Cancer Research Center!

The Penn Pancreatic Cancer Research Center (PCRC) is committed to delivering high-quality care for patients with pancreatic cancer. We take a multidisciplinary approach — integrating Medical Oncology, Surgery, Gastroenterology, Radiation Oncology, and Pathology — to deliver comprehensive and personalized options to our patients.

The American Cancer Society has reported that last year pancreatic cancer became the third leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., surpassing breast cancer (see Cancer Statistics). One encouraging piece of this report is that the five-year relative survival rate for pancreatic cancer has moved to 8 percent (from 5 percent several years ago). At the Penn Pancreatic Cancer Research Center (PCRC), we understand the urgent need to develop better treatments and cures for patients.

News Update

The best way to treat pancreatic cancer is to detect it early, when the tumor can be removed surgically before it has spread to distant organs. Recently, a team led by PCRC member Ken Zaret, PhD – in collaboration with Gloria Petersen, PhD at the Mayo Clinic – used an innovative approach to identify markers in the blood that can accurately identify patients with pancreatic cancer. What makes this development so exciting is that in a retrospective cohort (an examination of archived blood samples), it was able to distinguish patients with early stage cancer – stage I or II – when survival rates following surgery are much better. Read more here.

Photo courtesy of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

The PCRC is working with the High Risk GI Cancer Group (GI Cancer Risk Evaluation Program) to make this test available under a research protocol. We hope to have more information soon. In the meantime, if you have concerns about your risk of pancreatic cancer – either a strong family history, a known inherited mutation, or other risk factors – please reach out to the Pancreatic Nurse Navigator Patricia Gambino, MSN, RN ( or to the GI Cancer Risk Evaluation Program by following the above link.

Information for clinical trials

We believe in the power of clinical trials in caring for patients and conquering this disease.
For more information, click here.

© The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania | Site best viewed in a supported browser. | Site Design: PMACS Web Team.