More than 200 physicians and scientists from around the world will come to Pittsburgh July 29-31 to discuss the latest findings in pancreatic research. Dr. David Whitcomb, chief of the division of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, says PancreasFest 2010 is the 6th annual gathering of pancreas researchers who are working together to improve patient care...."there are many factors that come together in a perfect storm causing one person to have severe pancreatic disease where their relatives and neighbors don't."
Dr. Whitcomb says researchers at 20 centers around the world are looking at different parts of the pancreas and they will link that information and use computer modeling to come up with predictions to know which patients will need intervention.
Dr. Whitcomb says they are trying to determine why some people develop diabetes and others do not..."It appears that the cells that make insulin can grow back after injury in some cases and not others. Is that the reason why some people develop diabetes because their beta cells that make insulin don't grow back, and what is the reason? If we could understand that, perhaps we could have everyone's beta cells grow back and help cure diabetes."
Whitcomb says another group of researchers is working on injuries to the pancreas and why some of those people develop cancer and others don't This is particularly important because early warning of pancreatic cancer is very difficult because currently the "early warning signs are the cancer has developed or spread."
Whitcomb says he remains optimistic..."a large group of people working together over a number of years and we can solve these problems."