Scientific and Clinical Initiatives

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Dedicated to improving patient outcomes, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) pioneers revolutionary clinical initiatives and supports leading-edge research.

To date, PanCAN's cumulative research investment is projected to be approximately $126 million, including our research grants program and clinical initiatives. An additional $23 million will be invested in research this year.

Learn more about the transformational research that PanCAN funds:

Research Grants Program

By offering grants for basic, translational and clinical research in pancreatic cancer to scientists and clinicians at various career levels, PanCAN accelerates progress in the fight against the disease by advancing research toward the goal of improving patient outcomes.

Since 2003, we have awarded 199 grants to 187 scientists at 71 institutions through a rigorous, peer-review progress.

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Precision PromiseSM Clinical Trial

PanCAN’s Precision Promise is a groundbreaking new approach to pancreatic cancer clinical trials, created to speed progress for patients by getting new and better treatments approved more quickly. With a team of more than 100 expert clinicians, researchers and diagnostic and drug developers, and with generous funding from visionary donors, PanCAN’s Precision Promise is open to eligible patients to enroll at world-class cancer institutions nationwide.

Precision Promise is different than standard clinical trials because it has an adaptive design. The adaptive design allows for multiple treatments to be tested simultaneously. Fewer patients are required to determine if a treatment is working so it takes less time and it costs less money. The design of the trial was approved by the FDA and is seen as model for clinical trials in the future.

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Early Detection Initiative

PanCAN’s Early Detection Initiative is a randomized trial to develop a feasible and cost-effective approach using imaging in a high-risk new onset diabetes population to detect pancreatic cancer when it can be surgically removed. This transformative program aims to rapidly accelerate progress to develop an early detection strategy for pancreatic cancer.

Working in collaboration with government and research institutions, the Early Detection Initiative is a unique opportunity to analyze patients’ blood and other biospecimens for pancreatic cancer biomarkers in a large multi-institutional study. In conjunction, in a designated subset of patients, we will use existing imaging and accelerate the development of improved imaging technology to allow doctors to catch pancreatic cancer sooner when lesions are small.


Know Your Tumor®

PanCAN’s Know Your Tumor precision medicine research program provides eligible pancreatic cancer patients and their oncologists with information about their biology through biomarker testing of tumor tissue and genetic testing for inherited mutations. Know Your Tumor gives patients and their healthcare team access to information about treatments – including available clinical trials – that are personalized to them.

Results from Know Your Tumor have shown that patients who are able to receive treatment that matches their tumor biology live an average of one year longer than patients who aren’t.

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SPARK Research Data Platform

PanCAN’s SPARK is an external-facing data integration and analytics platform. The goals of SPARK are to accelerate research by breaking down data silos, increasing accessibility and usability of data and championing open data sharing.

SPARK will integrate data from PanCAN’s programs and services, like Know Your Tumor, as well as subsets of data from our large-scale initiatives like Precision Promise and Early Detection Initiative.


Patient Registry

PanCAN’s Patient Registry is a global online database created to look for patterns in treatments, side effect management and diagnostics that will lead to improved treatment options and outcomes for patients. By joining our quickly growing community and sharing their experiences, participants give researchers access to crucial data that will help make discoveries. The information provided is completely secure; the user decides who sees the information, how it will be used and if they want to be contacted by researchers.

Learnings from the Patient Registry have been published and presented at major biomedical conferences, describing the appropriate use of pancreatic enzymes and management of patients’ symptoms and side effects.

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Our Published Research

As part of PanCAN's strategic approach to increase survival, our Scientific and Medical Affairs team conducts independent and collaborative research to drive progress and improve patients' lives.

"We do not stand on the sidelines. We are working with researchers to make real progress for patients."

— Lynn Matrisian, PhD, MBA, Chief Science Officer

Explore Our Research

Evaluation of Research Grants Program

We regularly evaluate our research grants program to assess its effectiveness in building a comprehensive research community and moving the science toward a cure. Read more about the impact of the PanCAN research grants program.

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Research Grants Database

PanCAN launched its Research Grants Program in 2003. Search our database to find grant recipients and projects categorized by year, type or topic.

Browse our Database