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Pancreatic Cancer Program

A New Model to Accelerate Therapies for One of the Deadliest Cancers

Why This Research

The number of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer – one of the deadliest types of tumors – continues to rise each year. The disease is difficult to catch, as no screening tool can reliably diagnose early-stage patients without symptoms. This means that by the time most people are diagnosed, their cancer is advanced and may have already spread.

In addition, the tumors have several unique characteristics that have made it challenging to find effective treatments other than chemotherapy. For patients diagnosed after the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body – a distinction that applies to more than half of all pancreatic patients – the 5-year survival rate is just 3 percent.

PICI is committed to changing this reality. And we’re doing it by leveraging our unique collaboration of top researchers and industry and nonprofit partners. Through our scientific projects and clinical trials, we have identified novel combination therapies to treat advanced pancreatic cancer. Our approach represents a new model of drug development, built on science-driven research, collaboration and industry-level clinical trials.


What We’re Doing

The first trial in PICI’s Pancreatic Cancer Program is called PRINCE. It investigates how to activate the immune system to kill tumors using the combination of chemotherapy, an antibody that blocks PD-1 and activates T cells, and/or an experimental antibody that targets the CD40 protein and activates the cells that stimulate T cells.

The key to our next phase and our ability to work quickly is our platform trial design. It allows researchers to test different therapies and approaches at the same time, and it gives them the option to expand the size of each arm if the evidence suggests they should.

PICI’s pancreatic platform trial is called REVOLUTION, and it will initially consist of two treatment arms.

Cohort A will test a combination of chemotherapy and two immunotherapies: a CTLA-4 inhibitor called ipilimumab and a PD-1 inhibitor called nivolumab

Cohort B will investigate the combination of chemotherapy, ipilimumab and HCQ – a drug designed to stop a process called autophagy, in which cancer cells recycle their own materials to survive.

Our collaborative approach also lets us rapidly advance any combinations that show promise to later stage trials, helping us move faster to get lifesaving treatments to the patients who need them.



Site Investigators

  • George Fisher, MD, PhD | Stanford Medicine
  • Andrew Ko, MD | University of California, San Francisco
  • Mark O’Hara, MD | University of Pennsylvania
  • Eileen O’Reilly, MD | Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Osama Rama, MD | Dana Farber Cancer Institute
  • Gauri Varadhachary, MD | The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Zev Wainberg, MD | University of California, Los Angeles
  • Robert Wolff, MD | The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center



Support Our Work

To join PICI to support life-saving work like this, donate now or contact