Department of Medicine

University of Pittsburgh

Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
Mezzanine Level,
200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: (412) 648-9115

Pancreas & Biliary Center

Pancreas & Biliary Center Group Photo

The Pancreas & Biliary Center at the University of Pittsburgh offers world-class expertise for simple and complex diseases of the pancreas and biliary tract. This Center, in which gastroenterologists, radiologists, surgeons and other specialists work together as a team, has operated within the Digestive Disease Center throughout the past decade. The Pancreas and Biliary Center is one of the busiest centers of its kind in the country and is internationally known for clinical expertise and research.

The Pancreas & Biliary Center excels through multi-disciplinary teamwork. Clinical expertise is combined with new molecular diagnostic tools and abdominal imaging capabilities to direct the patient to appropriate use of therapeutic ERCP, endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) and all surgical procedures. Areas of special expertise include early detection and diagnosis of pancreaticobiliary malignancies as well as genetic testing and counseling for patients and families at risk for pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer. Research protocols center on prevention, detection and novel treatments for recurrent acute and chronic pancreatitis, pancreatic cysts, pancreatic cancer and promising neoadjuvant therapies.

Cutting edge translational research is central to the Pancreas & Biliary Center. For the last dozen years, University of Pittsburgh physicians and scientists have been building a unified team aimed at understanding human pancreatic and biliary diseases at the most basic levels and utilizing new knowledge to improve clinical practice. Major advances include the discovery of the genetic basis for hereditary pancreatitis (i.e., the mutated trypsin gene, PRSS1 R122H) as well as the genetic causes of "idiopathic" recurrent acute and chronic pancreatitis lead by Dr. David Whitcomb. Other primary advancements include new methods for early detection of pancreaticobiliary malignancies in strictures, masses and cysts lead by Dr. Asif Khalid.

Currently, the Pancreas & Biliary Center conducts the following major studies:

  • NIDDK R01-sponsored North American Pancreatitis Study II (NAPS2), a 20-center study;
  • RO1-funded Hereditary Pancreatitis Study (HP);
  • Severity of Pancreatitis Study (SAPS);
  • Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma Gene Environment Risk" (PAGER) Study; and
  • Pancreatic Cyst DNA Analysis (PANDA) Study.

The NAPS2, HP, SAPS and PAGER studies are led by Dr. David Whitcomb, and the PANDA study is led by Dr. Asif Khalid. More information about NAPS2, HP and PAGER is available, toll free, at 1-888-PITT-DNA (1-888-748-8362).

The PAGER study, a prospective molecular genetics and epidemiology study to investigate gene and environmental interactions that cause pancreatic cancer, is supported, in part, by the Wayne Fusaro Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund (WFPCRF). The WFPCRF is a nonprofit foundation working to improve diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer, currently the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. PAGER is linked to the Pancreatic Cancer Cooperative Registry (PCCR) so that patients from across the country may participate.

The following Pancreas & Biliary Center gastroenterology team members work actively to diagnose, treat and cure pancreaticobiliary diseases:

The University of Pittsburgh's clinical protocols, translational programs and basic research studies are leading to new methods for the early detection and enhanced treatment of pancreatic cancer, pancreatitis and related pancreaticobiliary diseases.

Other links related to pancreas diseases: A multi-dimensional pancreas disease website for both physicians and patients.

The National Pancreas Foundation

Wayne Fusaro Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund

Pancreatic Cancer Action Network