Researchers Hoping to Put an End to Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer symposium was held at NDSU to spread awareness


FARGO, ND., — It’s one of the deadliest cancers and researchers are hoping to find a cure.

According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 54,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year.

Part of this is because it’s known to be the ‘silent cancer’.

“It sits in your pancreas which is a digestive organ and it’s silent. It doesn’t tell you that it’s there you don’t feel pain typically until it’s too late,” said Professor of Epidemiology with the Mayo Clinic, Gloria Petersen.

A Pancreatic cancer symposium at NDSU brought in researchers from Pittsburgh, Nebraska and Harvard to inform people about how deadly this disease is.

More than anything, they hoped to raise awareness.

“At the end of the day we would like to see these pancreatic patients cured. And that’s a very¬†lofty process,” said¬†Professor of Pharmaceutical sciences with NDSU, Sanku Mallik.

More than 30 grad students presented their research on pancreatic cancer, each focusing on something different.

“Myself along with my colleagues here are trying to focus on are developing new treatments as well as trying to detect it early,” said NDSU Graduate Student, Matthew Confeld.

Matthew’s research is focused on working with different drugs to ultimately discover which one will beat the cancer.

“It takes a little tweaking here and there and then getting the right amount that’s most effective. It’s a lot of trial and error. A lot of error and some success in there,” said Confeld.

The researchers say the earlier you get rid of it, the better off you’ll be.

Most often patients wait too long and the damage is already done.

“It’s usually metastatic, its spread to other organs it’s not operable. And so you really have very short time to live,” said Petersen.

Also, bringing awareness is key.

“At the end of the day if we can save 10 patient lives that would be our satisfaction,” said Confeld.

A competitive grant of up to $9.62 million from National Institute of Health funded the first disease specific research center at NDSU.


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