Pancreatic Cancer Research

Pancreatic cancer is a devastating disease. Vague symptoms, like abdominal and back pain or weight loss, and the location of the pancreas deep within the abdomen make early detection of pancreatic cancer very difficult and rare. It is also a very aggressive disease. As a result, it is one of the deadliest cancers in the United States, with a five-year relative survival rate of six percent. About 73 percent of pancreatic cancer patients die in the first year of diagnosis, according to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. In 2014, the organization estimated 46,420 people were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the United States. Dr. Talia Golan’s goal is to help patients’ live fulfilled and comfortable lives as long as they are able.  In her words,  “This is a program at Sheba, but this is about pancreatic cancer. This is about detecting pancreatic cancer early and prolonging a patient’s life as long as possible in the most comfortable way.”

The Pancreatic Cancer (PC) research and patient care team at Sheba has invested heavily in efforts to develop key foundational components of a comprehensive, patient centered, cutting edge, facility for diagnosis and management of PC, one of the most predictably and rapidly lethal adult solid tumors. The Sheba Pancreatic Cancer Center (SPCC), founded and directed by Talia Golan, MD under the supervision of the Director of the Oncology Institute Raanan Berger MD PhD, has as its mission improving survival and the quality of life for patients with PC by providing well organized medical services while simultaneously advancing the understanding PC biology and treatment.

Management of PC is associated with significant medical and surgical challenges for successfully addressing late stage disease. Contributing to poor outcomes have been inadequate imaging capabilities, challenges to pain management, and insufficiently effective chemotherapy and biologic therapies for PC.  Treatment options for PC have been largely unsatisfactory due to its invisibility at an early stage, its inoperability at later stages, and limited chemo and biological therapies available that target this disease. In order to manage and support patients through their experience with PC, substantial cross-disciplinary collaboration and coordination is required.

Launched in 2012, the SPCC is a globally unique destination for PC patients specifically designed to address these challenges. The SPCC features (1) advanced methods for early detection of PC; (2) precision targeting of treatments based on biologic testing prior to initiation of therapy; (3) cutting edge therapeutic clinical trials tailored to patient profiles; (4) an outstanding, comprehensive and well- coordinated system of medical care, navigation, education, and supportive services for PC patients and their families; and (5) training programs designed to produce the next generation of physicians, scientists, and caregivers thereby ensuring the best available care for pancreatic cancer will continues to evolve.

The activities of the SPCC are resource intensive, far exceeding the magnitude of direct clinical revenues derived from treating PC patients. The SPCC must support a physical treatment center, staff for direct patient care as well as patient navigation and education, staff and infrastructure for the conduct of laboratory and clinical trials research that translates directly into improved treatment. The SPCC has an impressive record of discovery, publication, treatment success, and obtaining early philanthropic interest have supported its initial development as a pilot program.  Proof of concept having been established in these domains, SPCC seeks to become a permanent and fully developed center that achieves its full mission objectives.

The mature annual budget for operating SPCC is estimated to be $1.2 M (see PDF for full proposal).  To date, in its “ramp up” or pilot phase of development, the SPCC has received $ 300,000 in pledged support for Sheba Medical Center. $ 50,000 (annually for three years 2014-17) is provided by Sheba as support for the Program Assistant position. The remaining philanthropic funds received are discretionary for use towards initial program development and research. Our immediate goals are to obtain critical short term support ($2.5M/3 years) for initial program development and operations as follows: $500,000 in immediate short term funding for use towards year 2015 program development and operations, $1M for use towards 2016 program development and operations, and $1M for use towards year 2017 operations. Ultimately an endowment will be necessary to bridge the gap between annual Program revenues and its ongoing operating requirements.

Help us change the face of  pancreatic cancer research and care. 

  • Pancreatic Cancer Center, $7 million
  • Pancreatic Cancer Research Laboratory, $1 million
  • Research $1000+ (Naming Opportunities Available for Gifts $100,000 and above)
  • Medical Supplies: $600-$200,000



For further information on naming opportunities, contact Adi Hepner, Director of Development, at, or 310.935.0135.

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