Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Patrick Swayze's Death Highlights Need for More Research in Pancreatic Cancer

MAYWOOD, IL. -- Fewer than 4 percent of pancreatic cancer patients survive as long as five years.

Actor Patrick Swayze, who died this week from the disease, survived less than two years.

"It is one of the deadliest cancers," said cancer surgeon Dr. Margaret Shoup, chief of surgical oncology at Loyola University Health System. "Usually by the time we identify the cancer, it is too late for surgery. We need much more research. Unfortunately, pancreatic cancer does not get the kind of attention other cancers receive."

Shoup is conducting a clinical trial at Loyola on a cancer vaccine for pancreatic cancer patients. The vaccine, it's hoped, will stimulate a patient's immune system to generate antibodies to attack cancer cells.

Other experimental therapies include drugs that target specific proteins in tumors, Shoup said.

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is part of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. Loyola University Medical Center’s campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of Chicago’s Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. At the heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is a national Catholic health system with an enduring legacy and a steadfast mission to be a transforming and healing presence within the communities we serve. Trinity is committed to being a people-centered health care system that enables better health, better care and lower costs. Trinity Health has 88 hospitals and hundreds of continuing care facilities, home care agencies and outpatient centers in 21 states and 119,000 employees.