Expanding the Frontiers of Care for Pancreatic Diseases

3D Illustration of Human Body Organs Anatomy (Pancreas)For 26 years, the Center for Pancreatic Disease at Brigham and Women’s Hospital has been at the forefront of providing care for patients with pancreatic diseases. The Center’s three medical pancreatologists, who include Peter A. Banks, MD, Julia Y. McNabb-Baltar, MD, MPH, and David X. Jin, MD, MPH, work collaboratively with interventional radiologists, gastrointestinal surgeons and therapeutic endoscopists to provide the latest diagnostic and treatment options for acute and chronic pancreatitis, pancreatic cysts, hormone-producing tumors and cancer.

“Each year, our surgeons perform more than 100 pancreatic cancer operations. We routinely perform the Whipple procedure, pancreatic debridements, and spleen-preserving distal pancreatectomies. Our surgical team, led by Thomas E. Clancy, MD, is one of the few in New England that performs total pancreatectomy with islet cell autotransplantation for patients with chronic pancreatitis,” said Dr. Banks, Director of the Center for Pancreatic Disease.

Led by Christopher C. Thompson, MD, MHES, a renowned therapeutic endoscopist who pioneered cystgastrostomy, therapeutic endoscopists provide minimally invasive procedures on the pancreas, including the unique capability to eliminate necrosis of the pancreas using endoscopic methods. Interventional radiologists provide invaluable help in identifying complications of pancreatic disease, identifying infection of the pancreas, and draining pancreatic collections.

“The Brigham has also trained many fellows in all disciplines who are now leaders in the field of pancreatic disease. For example, Vikesh Singh, MD, at Johns Hopkins, and Bechien Wu, MD, at Kaiser Permanente in California, are two outstanding medical pancreatologists who came through our program,” said Dr. Banks.

Most recently, Julia McNabb-Baltar, MD, MPH, who studies acute and chronic pancreatitis, received the Rising Star Award from the National Pancreas Foundation. This award recognizes an emerging leader in the field of pancreatic disease.

Each week, the Center for Pancreatic Disease holds a multidisciplinary clinical conference where attendings, fellows and residents from gastroenterology, interventional radiology, gastrointestinal surgery, therapeutic endoscopy and pathology review challenging pancreatic cases and create the most appropriate treatment plan.

Through an extremely active clinical research program, the Center has produced hundreds of research papers that have had an outsized impact on the care of patients with acute and chronic pancreatitis and tumors of the pancreas. For example, the Center’s physicians have written and revised clinical classifications of acute pancreatitis, established protocols for the treatment of acute and chronic pancreatitis, and have advanced the field in terms of how to provide the most appropriate care for patients who are hospitalized with pancreatic disease.

“Since founding the Center for Pancreatic Disease over two decades ago, we have assembled an exceptional team with experience and knowledge to care for patients with any disease of the pancreas,” said Dr. Banks. “When patients with a pancreatic condition are admitted to the Brigham, they can expect the best care. I tell patients the same thing when I first meet them: ‘Welcome to Brigham and Women’s Hospital. We’re going to take very good care of you.’”

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