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Online CME . . . Physicians

Acute Pancreatitis (UPMC)
Severe Acute Pancreatitis (UPMC)
Systemic Inflammation Gone Wrong (PancreasFest)
Nutrition in Acute Pancreatitis (UPMC)
Obesity Risk of Severity in Acute Pancreatitis (UPMC)

Pancreas Research and Education Updates

August 2nd, 2015

CAPER – Web site updated

News about the Collaboative Alliance for Pancreas Education and Research

Log on for CAPER research webinars / APPRENTICE  - CAPERpancreas.org


REPORT:  PancreasFest 2015

This was the best pancreas meeting I have been to in my entire life! - multiple attendees.

Pittsburgh, PA, USA – July 22-24, 2015.   PancreasFest 2015 (PF15) united more than 200 physicians, scientists and trainees on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh in July 2015.  The program highlighted pancreatic cancer research, with a presentation by Professor Peter O’Dwyer, MD from the University of Pennsylvania as the winner of the 2015 Ruth C Brufsky Award for Excellence in Research in Pancreatic Cancer.   Other sessions focused on chronic pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer diagnosis, minimizing suffering during pancreatic cancer treatment and the role of pancreatic lipases in pancreatic diseases.  There were multiple panel discussions which enabled the the audience and speakers to interact in lively and highly informative debates (Figure).

Professor Julia Mayerle, MD for Ernst-Moritz-Arndt Universität Greifswald, Griefswald, Germany discussing the use of animal models of pancreatitis during a panel discussion as Jeffrey Easler MD, Indiana University, takes notes in the foreground.

The International Study group of Pediatric Pancreatitis In Search of a cuRE (INSPPIRE) sponsored a special meeting at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC for pediatric pancreatologists.  This meeting featured multiple American and international expert speakers discussing special problems of pancreatic disease in children, followed by a targeted case discussion session to address difficult pediatric pancreatitis issues.

The Collaborative Alliance for Pancreatic Education and Research (CAPER) sponsored a young investigators’ meeting to highlight up and coming physician researchers.  A poster session included 40 presentations, plus four oral presentations from Enrique de-Madaria MD PhD from Alicante, Spain, Venkata Akshintala MD from UPMC in Pittsburgh, Katherine Morgan MD FACS from the Medical University of South Carolina, and Walter Park MD MS from Stanford University.   Georgios Papachristou MD PhD from the University of Pittsburgh presented an update on the APPRENTICE Study – a well-organized international working group of over 30 centers focused on solving problems related to acute pancreatitis.   CAPER also honored Professor David C Whitcomb MD PhD with the CAPER Lifetime Achievement and Mentoring Award.

Professor Randall Brand MD (far right) from the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC discusses issues related to evaluation of pancreatic cysts.   Other panelists in the picture include Amuer Zureikat MD, William Brugge MD and Anne Marie Lennon MD PhD.

Two special sessions highlighted the effort of ad hoc working groups designed to establish guidelines for Academic Pancreatic Centers of Excellence (APCOE).  The goal is to provide guidance for best practice approaches for pancreatic care throughout the United States.   The APCOE works is in parallel to the efforts of the National Pancreas Foundation, which is evaluating both academic and non-academic centers to make sure that the patients are directed to high-quality care.   Darwin Conwell MD MPH, chief of gastroenterology and hepatology at The Ohio State University, noted that APCOEs have the added responsibility of conducting research to continually improve care, evaluating new and existing tests and their optimal use, and educating the next generation of physician scientists.

PancreasFest 2015 Program - Click Here


NIDDK/NCI Symposium – linked to PancreasFest 2015

Advances in Biomedical Imaging, Bioengineering, and Related Technologies for the Development of Biomarkers of Pancreatic Disease – Website.

This year the National Institutes of Health again choose to link an important workshop to PancreasFest.  The NIDDK and NCI held a one-day workshop to discuss “Advances in Biomedical Imaging, Bioengineering, and Related Technologies of the Development of Biomarkers of Pancreatic Diseases: Gaps, Needs and Opportunities.

Clinic-based physicians were able to describe the types of information that is needed for them to evaluate problems impacting patient care to an audience of scientists who have the skill and desire to invent new methods and techniques.  The structured presentations and interactions resulted in a very successful meeting.  It is hoped that the recommendations of these communities will lead to targeted funding to fill these gaps and needs.

A full conference report will be published in the November issue of Pancreas.


CTRC mutations linked to SMOKING to enhance risk of chronic pancreatitis.

The common genetic variant, G60G was found to be linked with chronic pancreatitis, but not acute pancreatitis, especially in smokers.  The paper, by LaRusch et al. is FREE at Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology, with an Editorial by Scott Tenner MD


CFTR variants linked to a second type of Cystic Fibrosis that does not affect the lungs.

A paper published in PLoS Genetics by LaRusch and colleagues from the North American Pancreatitis Study II (NAPS2) provides compelling evidence of a group of pathogenic mutations in the CFTR gene that increase the risk for chronic pancreatitis, but not lung disease.  CFTR is a molecule that is expressed on epithelial cells that separate the fluids of the body from the outside world.  CFTR is a channel that allows negatively charged ions (i.e. anions such as chloride [Cl-] and bicarbonate [HCO3-]) to be pushed from the endothelial cells interior out of the body by a strong electrical charge (the inside of the cell has a negative charge and like charges repulse).  The build up of ions outside of the cells cause an increase in osmotic pressure, pulling water and sodium out of the body as well – resulting in fluid secretion.   The recent discovery demonstrated that when a molecule inside the epithelial cells called WNK1 is activated, it causes the CFTR molecule to change from the normal chloride channel, to a bicarbonate channel.  The new discovery is that 9 mutations were discovered that prevent WNK1 from making the switch, so cells that use  CFTR for bicarbonate secretion, including the pancreas, sinuses and male reproductive organs, do not work properly.  The pancreas may develop cysts and fibrosis – just like in severe mutations that totally destroy CFTR function and cause classic cystic fibrosis.  Download the full paper at PLoS Genetics, or read a more detailed newspaper article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


Recommendations from PancreasFest:

The Guidance statements from are now published in Pancreatology

Detection, evaluation and treatment of diabetes mellitus in chronic pancreatitis: Recommendations from PancreasFest 2012“.  These specifically address issues surrounding when and how to screen for diabetes, including Type 3c (pancreatogenic diabetes).(Click here for Abstract).

Total pancreatectomy and islet autotransplantation in chronic pancreatitis: Recommendations from PancreasFest” These recommendations guid physicians in the evaluation and management of patients before, and after TPIAT. Click here for Abstract


NIDDK-NCI Workshop on Pancreatitis-Diabetes-Pancreatic Cancer: REPORT

June 12-13, 2013.  Bethesda MD.  By all accounts, the PDPC conference was an overwhelming success. A full report was published in the November 2013 issue of Pancreas.    See Program Link.


CME Program on Chronic Pancreatitis

Drs Whitcomb & Forsmark discuss advances in science that translate into better treatment of chonic pancreatitis.

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CME credit for physicians

(click on image to open a new page)


PRSS1 – Website.

A new web site has been launched to provide information on the functional consequence of various cationic trypsinogen (PRSS1) mutations. The site is maintained by Dr. Miklos Sahin-Toth and Dr. Balazs Nemeth. Click here to visit.


Personalized approaches to treatment of Pancreatitis.


David Whitcomb MD PhD and Adam Slivka MD PhD discuss the advances in the treatment of pancreatitis using genetics. (View of the Whitcomb lab, University of Pittsburgh)


PEaRL .:. Pancreatitis Education and Research Letter

PEaRL news letter page – See “Patient Information” link above

- previous PEaRLs - PEaRL Page

Pancreas Eduction and Research News (PEARL)Winter 2012-13.


National & International News & Meetings

March 30th, 2014



2014 Pancreas Meeting Calendar.

New events have been posted for 2014 on the “Physician/Scientists> Meeting and Events” page & “Education>Annual Meetings” page.