EARLIER DETECTION RESEARCH WASN’T ALWAYS MAINSTREAM. THE SEA CHANGE HAS, IN LARGE PART, RESULTED FROM THE RESEARCH THE FOUNDATION HAS SUPPORTED BOTH HERE AT JOHNS HOPKINS AND IN OTHER LABS. WHEN THE FOUNDATION BEGAN SUPPORTING OUR WORK IN 2008, THEY WERE ALMOST ALONE—THERE WAS LITTLE GOVERNMENT FUNDING AVAILABLE AND VIRTUALLY NO INDUSTRIAL INTEREST. “ ” —Bert Vogelstein, MD, Johns Hopkins
USING ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TO FIND PANCREATIC CANCER EARLIER Another team of Johns Hopkins research- ers led by Elliot Fishman, MD, is harnessing the power of machine learning, or artificial intelligence, to detect tiny, early-stage tumors on C.T. scans. The FELIX program uses data from thousands of scans to teach computers to detect tumors small enough to be missed by even the most experienced radiologists.
PANCREATIC CANCER COLLECTIVE: COLLABORATING FOR PROGRESS
The Pancreatic Cancer Collective, a joint initiative of the Lustgarten Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer, continues to make groundbreaking progress. The Collective is conducting 30 clinical trials led by more than 400 research investigators at 70 institutions. Four projects supported by the Collective’s “New Therapies Challenge” grants have made it through a second round of funding, enabling researchers to take potential treatments into clinical trials. The grants focus on: Exploiting DNA Repair Gene Mutations in Pancreatic Cancer Immunotherapy Targeting Mutant KRAS Molecularly Targeted Radionuclide Therapy via the Interferon AlphaVbeta6 Targeting SHP2 in Pancreatic Cancer
IDENTIFYING AND TESTING PANCREATIC CYSTS
Pancreatic cysts can be common within the general population, and researchers at Johns Hopkins are making incredible progress in evaluating which cysts are likely to develop into pancreatic cancer, so only those patients with pre-cancerous cysts undergo surgical removal. The Comprehen- sive Cyst (CompCyst) test combines clinical, radiological, genetic and protein marker information to classify pancreatic cysts to determine the best course of action— surgery or surveillance. The Lustgarten Laboratory at Johns Hopkins is working to further develop CompCyst into a clinically approved test.
The Collective also awarded two grants for computational approaches using artificial intelligence to mimic human reasoning and identify individuals in the general population who are at high risk for pancreatic cancer.
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