The Pancreatic Cancer Alliance (PCA) has been a driving force for critical research, patient care and education at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the UMass Memorial Cancer Center of Excellence. Founded in 2003, the alliance is made up of many dedicated and determined volunteers who have been affected by this devastating illness and who are motivated to change the course of this disease. We are current patients, caregivers, and medical professionals, as well as family members and friends of those claimed by pancreatic cancer, the 4th leading cause of cancer death in the United States.

Our Mission

To support the efforts of the medical and research communities at UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Cancer Center of Excellence as well as patients and their loved ones in the battle against pancreatic cancer by:

  • Increasing funding for research and the support of patients
  • Intensifying our efforts to heighten public awareness of pancreatic cancer
  • Helping to educate patients and medical professionals about pancreatic cancer

Early Accomplishments

Cutting-edge research and the success of the Pancreas Program at UMass Memorial Cancer Center of Excellence has been made possible in large part due to the support from the Pancreatic Cancer Alliance. The PCA’s accomplishments include raising over $1 million which has been awarded to:

  • Advance basic science research in pancreatic cancer through the purchase of a Xenogen Ivis Imaging system used by Dr. Brian Lewis and his lab, who are exploring signaling pathways and using novel animal models to aid in the study of pancreatic cancer.
  • Assist in the recruitment of the past head of the UMass Pancreas Program, a gifted surgeon who dedicated her career to fighting pancreatic cancer.
  • Provide start-up money for pancreatic cancer researchers at UMass Medical School to develop desperately-needed drug trials, which provide hope for patients with pancreatic cancer.
  • Assist the Pancreas program in attracting a cadre of next-generation surgical residents who care about pancreatic cancer research and caring for patients with pancreatic cancer, through the Karen Sweeney Polkinghorn Pancreatic Cancer Research Fellow program.
  • Create patient kits for newly diagnosed patients providing comprehensive information about the disease and treatment options.
  • Conduct an educational campaign reaching out to medical professionals throughout Central Massachusetts.
  • Raise awareness of the disease through the financial support of 5 educational symposia on pancreatic cancer offered to the medical, patient and family communities.
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