Pancreatic Cancer Translational Center of Excellence

Research in progress

Early Detection and Immediate Care for Pancreatic Cancer

According to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, pancreatic cancer is projected to become the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States around 2020. Penn Medicine’s Pancreatic Cancer TCE, now known as the Pancreatic Cancer Research Center (PCRC), is answering this urgent need to establish new therapies for pancreatic cancer.

The PCRC has three areas of focus:

  • Clinical Trials: To have every pancreatic cancer patient enrolled in a clinical trial
  • Early Detection: To develop advanced early detection methods
  • Novel Therapies: To test new drugs in the lab and quickly deploying the findings to patients
  • Personalized Treatment: To provide personalized treatment plans for each of our patients

Multidisciplinary Approach to Pancreatic Cancer

Penn’s PCRC multidisciplinary team of medical oncologists, translational scientists, surgeons, gastroenterologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists and support services work collaboratively to bring discoveries from the lab to the patient’s bedside.

Since our team works together each and every day, our patients receive personalized treatment plans, as well as access to the latest therapies and clinical trials.

Why Penn’s Pancreatic Cancer Research Center Program is Different

  • We are pioneers of leading edge, translational research that combines basic science research and clinical investigation.
  • We offer the latest clinical trials that are available for all stages of 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.

Meet the Team

Ben Z. Stanger, MD, PhD, Director, PCRC
Dr. Stanger is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Cell and Developmental Biology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and an Associate Investigator of the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute. He is an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and a former Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences.

Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, Director, Abramson Cancer Center
Dr. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, is the Director of the Abramson Cancer Center, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the John H. Glick, MD Abramson Cancer Center’s Director Professor. Dr. Vonderheide graduated from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and Harvard Medical School. He completed training in internal medicine and medical oncology at the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

Dr. Vonderheide is a distinguished scientist and clinician who has deciphered mechanisms of cancer immune surveillance and developed novel cancer therapeutics, particularly in pancreatic cancer. He is well-recognized for driving the development of agonist CD40 antibodies, now in later stage clinical trials as potential immune therapy of cancer. Dr. Vonderheide discovered telomerase as a universal tumor antigen and has led the efforts to develop telomerase vaccination for both therapy and the prevention of cancer in healthy individuals. He has helped lead a team to show that stereotactic radiation therapy in combination with dual checkpoint blockade represents a synergistic path for immune activation in cancer. Dr. Vonderheide merges his clinical investigations with rigorous studies in mouse models or other laboratory systems. Dr. Vonderheide has been continuously funded by the NCI, and his high-impact findings have been published in Nature, Science, Cell and the New England Journal of Medicine.

Ursina Teitelbaum, MD, Clinical Director, PCRC
Dr. Teitelbaum is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at Penn Medicine and serves as Clinical Director of Penn’s PCRC. She is also a dedicated GI medical oncologist with special interest in treating pancreas adenocarcinoma, and she serves as Leader of the Pancreas Cancer Service Line at the Abramson Cancer Center. She was recently elected to the Penn Medicine Academy of Master Clinicians, which honors Penn Medicine clinicians that exemplify the highest standards of clinical excellence, humanism and professionalism.

Schedule an Appointment

If you have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, please contact: Patricia Gambino, MSN, RN, Pancreatic Cancer Nurse Navigator via email or phone 215-615-0537.

Learn more about Penn’s Oncology Navigators and support services.

Penn’s Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Trials

The PCRC has a current list of pancreatic clinical trials at Abramson Cancer Center. To view them, visit the PCRC School of Medicine website, or contact your Penn oncologist or Patricia Gambino.

Ways to Give

Every dollar helps fund our clinical and translational efforts, and accelerates innovation. Give here.

For more information about giving opportunities, please contact Evelyn Schwartz, Director of Leadership Gifts & Philanthropic Partnerships, via email or call 215-898-8625 (work) 609-206-2133 (cell).

Support Groups & Community Involvement

Pancreatic Cancer Networking Group 

The Pancreatic Networking Group provides positive support to patients, family and friends. We look to encourage one another, share information and resources.

When: The fourth Wednesday of the month, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm 
Where: Patient and Family Services Conference Room, 1st Floor South Pavilion,Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine
Contact: Megan Melick, LSW at 215-360-0570

Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCan) Purplestride Philadelphia 2017

This year, the PanCan 5K run and family-friendly walk will take place on 11/04/2017 at Memorial Hall, Fairmount Park. To join the Pancreatic Cancer Research Center team, sign up here or email Patricia Gambino or call 215-615-0537.