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NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center - Center for Advanced Digestive Care

NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center - Center for Advanced Digestive Care

Research

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center has a vigorous research program to study the molecular genetics of pancreatic cancer and pancreatic cysts to better understand disease development. A cadre of developmental, stem, and cancer cell biologists bring unique and integrative perspectives to enhance the understanding of the molecular and genetic basis of pancreatic cancer. We are also conducting a unique prevention program dedicated to helping those with a family history of pancreatic cancer determine their own risk of developing this disease.

A number of clinical trials are under way to advance the care of patients with pancreatic cancer, assessing investigational drugs as well as novel combinations of existing drugs.

Islet Cell Transplantation

NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell doctors are evaluating islet cell transplantation, a procedure designed to treat patients with Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes or to prevent Type 1 diabetes in patients with chronic pancreatitis. Islets are groups of cells in the pancreas that (among other hormones) produce insulin, which regulates the body's glucose levels.

During islet cell transplantation for patients with Type 1 diabetes, insulin-producing islets are taken from the pancreases of deceased organ donors. In patients with chronic pancreatitis, the islets are taken from the patient's own pancreas (a process called "autologous transplantation"). The islets are purified, processed, and transferred into the liver of a patient in need. Once transplanted, the islets begin to make and release insulin. Researchers hope that islet cell transplantation will help people with Type 1 diabetes live without daily injections of insulin. For patients with chronic pancreatitis, patients are able to undergo a total removal of the pancreas to cure their disease and receive their own islets so they do not become diabetic as a result of the surgery.

Patients at Weill Cornell undergoing islet cell transplantation receive multidisciplinary care from transplant surgeons, nephrologists, endocrinologists, nurses, transplant coordinators, dietitians, pharmacists, and social workers before, during, and after the procedure.