Pancreatic Interception/High-Risk Cohorts Dream Team - Stand Up To Cancer

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SU2C–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Interception Dream Team:
Intercepting Pancreatic Cancer in High-Risk Cohorts

Grant Term: February 2018–July 2022

The SU2C–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Interception Dream Team’s goal is to intercept pancreatic cancer in high-risk patients through careful early detection and targeted immune prevention. Working first with relatives of people with pancreatic cancer, this team seeks to create a test to screen people at risk for pancreatic cancer to potentially detect the cancer earlier and offer the most effective treatment options to patients.

Supported by:


Currently there is no suitable screening test for pancreatic cancer. The goal of the SU2C–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Interception Dream Team is to actively block pancreatic cancer at its earliest stages in patients at high risk.

The team is testing 2,000 pancreatic cancer patients for genetic mutations and screening the immediate family members of mutation carriers for their own pancreatic cancer risk. Cancer-free relatives who carry a mutation are being invited to enter an active screening protocol, tied to computer-based “deep learning” imaging that can detect cancers too small to be seen by the human eye. A subset of high-risk individuals who are currently cancer-free but have precancerous lesions in their pancreas are being invited to participate in the first-ever clinical trial of a vaccine to prevent pancreatic cancer.

Finally, the team is developing a “blood test” for very early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, to be applied to people at high risk, such as those with new-onset diabetes.

This Dream Team is part of the SU2C Cancer Interception Initiative, an approach that looks for ways to actively intervene in the formation of the disease rather than treating it only after it is fully developed, and is part of the Pancreatic Cancer Collective portfolio of research.


The top scientists and researchers on the SU2C–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Interception Dream Team come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, which leads them to great insights upon collaboration. Learn more about the SU2C–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Interception Dream Team.

Dream Team Members

Anirban Maitra, MBBS
University of Texas
MD Anderson Cancer Center

Michael G. Goggins, MD
Johns Hopkins University

Scott M. Lippman, MD
University of California, San Diego

Tyler Jacks, PhD
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Principal Investigator

Gloria Peterson, PhD
Mayo Clinic
Principal Investigator

Sapna Syngal, MD, MPH
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Principal Investigator

Barbara Kenner
Kenner Family Research Fund

Scott Nelson

Pamela Constantinou Papadopoulos, PhD
University of Texas
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Project Manager

“By focusing on individuals at high risk of pancreatic cancer, we hope to intercept the disease process at a very early stage when it can be more successfully treated, and thus save many lives.”

Anirban Maitra, MBBS
University of Texas
MD Anderson Cancer Center


Stand Up To Cancer’s research projects are designed to foster collaborative, swift translational research. The hallmarks of these efforts include rigorous application and selection procedures, sufficient funding to allow scientists to focus on the objectives of the grant, and reviews by senior scientists every six months. These reviews help the investigators capitalize on the latest findings, address potential roadblocks, and collaboratively evolve as the science requires. Please click the button below to see summaries of research results so far for the SU2C–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Interception Dream Team.



Altered Exocrine Function Can Drive Adipose Wasting in Early Pancreatic Cancer
Danai LV, Babic A, Rosenthal MH, et al (2018)
Nature. 558(7711):600-604.
Evaluating Susceptibility to Pancreatic Cancer: ASCO Provisional Clinical Opinion
Stoffel EM, McKernin SE, Brand R, et al (2019)
J Clin Oncol. 37(2):153-164.


Cancer clinical trials allow researchers to study innovative and potentially life-saving new treatments. The goal is to find treatments that are better than what’s currently available; in fact, the therapies offered to today’s cancer patients were almost all studied and made possible by people participating in clinical trials. But many cancer clinical trials aren’t completed because not enough people take part.

At, you’ll find clinical trial information, answers to common questions, and a free clinical trial finder tool.



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