Pancreatic cancer is a refractory cancer in which surgery has limited therapeutic success. However, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, cancer vaccine therapy and other various treatment methods are now developed and used together as multidisciplinary therapy. In recent years, a decreasing incidence of cancer recurrence has been observed using post-surgery adjuvant chemotherapy. In addition to these results, enforcing accelerated post-surgery early recovery, moving quickly to the next treatment, and conducting safe surgery is crucial. However, complications may be observed given the high level of technical ability required for pancreatic resection.
At the pancreas group, we conduct safe surgery while reducing postoperative complications by developing new surgical techniques for pancreatic and gastrointestinal anastomosis. We are also actively introducing a reconstructive method for the gastrointestinal tract that prevents delayed gastric emptying.
Recently, prevention of cancer relapse has improved through neoadjuvant chemotherapy. However, selecting which eligible patients, chemotherapy, and length of treatment will maximize results remains uncertain. To elucidate some of these issues, The Hokkaido Pancreatic Cancer Study Group (HOPS) was established and multi-institutional clinical trials have begun. We also collaborate with institutions throughout Hokkaido, and hope to be of help by establishing a system to improve outcomes of pancreatic cancer therapy.
The pancreas group also conducts fundamental research to discover new methods of treatment of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer has a tendency to metastasize to the liver, and therefore preventing postoperative metastasis is a major concern. In collaboration with the Tokyo University Institute of Medical Science, we have developed treatment methods to regulate pancreatic cancer metastasis by targeting expression genes specific to pancreatic cancer. Hereafter, we plan to conduct preclinical trials in animals. Further, we are working on detecting cancer cells in blood, as well as in liver in which metastasis has recently occurred. We are also actively involved in the analysis of the mechanism of liver metastasis, and in the development of new cancer therapies.