The UCLA Agi Hirshberg Center for Pancreatic Diseases provides a critical hub for advancing pancreatic cancer research and treatment breakthroughs. The establishment of an Integrated Practice Unit (IPU) breaks down traditional divisions and brings together, in a shared space, experts in surgery, oncology, pathology, radiology, and more. The benefits of this approach are wide-ranging, from granting patients ease of access to multiple providers to allowing physician-scientists improved opportunities for collaborations on treatment and research. This focus on innovation and exploration continues to draw patients from all over the country to UCLA for consultation, treatment, and support.
The Center’s IPU, one of the first of its kind in the US, treats a wide range of pancreatic diseases, including pancreatic cysts, acute and chronic pancreatitis, bile duct diseases, neuroendocrine pancreatic tumors, and pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PDAC), commonly referred to as pancreatic cancer. With a focus on personalized treatment in a convenient, team-based setting, the IPU is able to deliver some of the best outcomes nationwide. As part of this comprehensive approach to treatment, all pancreatic cancer patients undergo genetic testing to ensure they receive the most targeted treatments, which can significantly improve long-term outcomes for pancreatic cancer patients. The Center’s patients also have access to pioneering clinical trials, psychosocial support and a personalized, holistic treatment plan.
In addition to the IPU, pancreatic cancer cases can be brought before the UCLA neuroendocrine tumor board, which was created to better address the specific needs of patients with tumors that originate in hormone-producing cells, including pancreatic tissue. The tumor board helps evaluate which protocols will be most beneficial for individual patients, including the newest imaging techniques.
The Center is now one of the nation’s premier comprehensive programs for pancreatic cancer and diseases. It houses the UCLA clinical program with multidisciplinary research and education programs at the UCLA main campus as well as at sister institutions, West LA Veteran Medical Center, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Much of this program has been supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with various program project grants, training grants, career development grants and other research grants (R01, R21 through the years and Seed Grants provided by the Hirshberg Foundation).
Thanks to the Hirshberg Foundation, the UCLA Agi Hirshberg Center for Pancreatic Diseases is a hub for leading-edge investigations and a beacon of hope for patients and their families. The Center has accelerated translational research efforts, ensuring that the pioneering work being done in UCLA’s laboratories results in new treatments, improved protocols, and the development of preventive measures for pancreatic cancer.