November 19, 2014

Importance of Research for Pancreatic Disease

Research is the key to more effective, less-invasive treatments for pancreatic cancer. The generosity of the Griffith Family Foundation grows more important by the day as traditional funding sources like government agencies, pharmaceutical Companies, and device manufacturers become less available.

Overview of Our Research Activities

The Institute for HepatoBiliary and Pancreatic Surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center represents three full time faculty and nine full-time research fellows investigating all aspects of care for patients with pancreatic cancer and related diseases. Our current fellows are the best and brightest from countries like the USA, Netherlands, Colombia, and Peru. Their efforts span institutional and national boundaries and include expert centers like University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), the University of Pisa in ltaly, Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands.
Importance of Your Philanthropic Support

The Griffith Family Foundation supports numerous projects and activities together with substantial contributions of research space, time, and effort from the Roberta and Stephen Weiner Department of Surgery at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School: Your generous contributions are critical to our continued partnership with allied institutions around the world. Your gifts sustain a world-class research environment that enables our international fellows to obtain grant funding from their home universities and governments.
Your Research Funds at Work During 2013-2014:

Clinical Research Fellowship in Diseases of the Pancreas and Liver

Dr. Ammara Watkins is the 2013-2015 Clinica | Research Fellow in diseases of the
pancreas and liver. She is enrolled in the Program for Clinical Effectiveness at the Harvard School of Public Health, a premier program for educating researchers in the design, conduct, and analysis of clinical research studies. Dr. Watkins is a graduate of Emory University and Emory School of Medicine and is currently a categorical surgery resident at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Expert Biostatistics

Your gifts directly support our collaboration with expert biostatisticians involved with all aspects of study design, data acquisition and analysis as well as manuscript preparation. Independent statistical expertise is critical to unbiased conclusions in the service of Our Values, Mission, and Vision.


Your support allowed research fellows to acquire and analyze research data from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and to present their findings at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Americas HepatoPancreatoBiliary Association (AHPBA).
Manuscripts being reviewed for publication

Robotassisted median arcuate ligament release for celiac artery compression
syndrome: Technique and Outcomes,” Journal of Vascular Surgery
Robotic Duodenal Surgery,” Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery.

2014 IDEAS Symposium Award, Best Poster Presentation: A Faster Learning Curve: Outcomes of procedurespecific credentialing for robotassisted HPB surgery.”

Summary of Funded Research Projects

1. Improving the Care of Patients suffering from Pancreatic Cancer

a. Multidisciplinary clinics improve the survival of patients with breast and hepatocellular cancer and expand the available options for treatment. We are studying the impact of the multidisciplinary BlDMC Pancreatic Cancer Center on survival as well as perceptions among patients and family members about pancreatic cancer so that we can become more effective patient advocates.

2. Ouality measures for pancreatic cancer: patient perspectives

a. This project will identify the metrics of quality and outcome that are important to patients and families considering treatment for pancreatic cancer. 3. New Technology Assessment

3. New Technology Assessment

a. Technique and outcomes of robotassisted median arcuate ligament release for celiac
artery compression syndrome b. Robotic duodenal surgery.
b. lmplementing a new roboticassisted pancreas surgery program

i. This project evaluates the learning curve for advanced robotic surgery at a high volume center for pancreas surgery without prior experience in minimally invasive pancreas surgery.

4. Qutcomes of Surgery

a. Multicenter outcomes of robotic pancreaticodudodenectomy

i. This project is evaluating the outcomes of high-technology pancreatic surgery at five worldwide centers of excellence: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and University of Pisa, Italy.

5. Survival and Outcomes of Pancreatic Cancer

a. Validation of NCCN consensus guidelines for surgery

i. Guidelines from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) are widely
used to determine whether patients should have surgery for pancreatic cancer but have not evaluated systematically to determine their effectiveness at predicting survival afterward. BlDMC and UPMC are together validating the impact of these recommendations on patients.

b. CT/EUS modeling

i. This project evaluates survival predictions based on CT scan and endoscopic
ultrasound (EUS) for patients with pancreatic cancer.