The Duke Pancreas Program provides comprehensive, multidisciplinary evaluation and treatment of benign, pre-malignant and malignant conditions including recurrent acute pancreatitis, autoimmune pancreatitis, chronic pancreatitis, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, pancreatic cysts, familial pancreatic cancer syndromes, and pancreatic cancer.
Our program participates in several research programs and conducts clinical trials that advance the understanding in acute pancreatitis, high risk pancreatic cancer screening, pancreatic cysts, and pancreatic fluid drainage. We are currently recruiting patients who are at high risk for pancreatic cancer to our surveillance registry. We are also collaborating with our colleagues in surgical oncology to recruit patients for a multicenter trial in the management pancreatic cysts.
Basic / Translational Pancreas Research
Our basic and translational research program focuses on the pathogenesis and treatment of acute and chronic pancreatitis. Using clinically relevant experimental models, our laboratories have described the neurogenic processes that contribute to the initiation, progression and severity of acute pancreatitis and characterized endogenous trypsin inhibitors that protect against pancreatitis. Recently, we discovered that the pancreas senses pressure through mechanically activated ion channels which mediate pressure-induced responses following pancreatic injury. This mechanism appears to be responsible for trauma-, ERCP- and gallstone-induced pancreatitis. We are actively developing strategies that can be used to treat human pancreatitis.