Stanford Cancer Institute

SCI Innovation Awardee

March 2023 - SCI Pancreatic Cancer Innovation award

A $50,000 SCI Pancreatic Cancer Innovation award was awarded to George Poultsides, MD, Professor of Surgery, and his collaborator Niaz Banaei, MD, Professor of Pathology and of Medicine, for their project entitled “Assessing pancreatic adenocarcinoma intratumoral microbiome to develop a biomarker predictive of long-term outcomes and response to chemotherapy.” Dr. Poultsides is an oncologic surgeon specializing in the removal of liver, pancreatic, and other abdominal tumors.

Pancreatic cancer is a disease with a poor prognosis even after successful surgical resection. Chemotherapy is increasingly used to improve outcomes before and after surgery; however, there are limitations in choosing the optimal chemotherapy regimen to improve outcomes. The study of bacteria inside pancreatic tumors has shown significant promise in helping to define prognosis. However, no current test and analysis of tumor bacteria is currently available to clinicians or scientists as a tool to prospectively predict response to a given treatment. Through the support of the SCI Pancreatic Cancer Innovation award, Drs. Poultsides and Banaei hope to develop a comprehensive process for processing tumor samples with next-generation sequencing (NGS) for microbiome analysis with the goal of developing a bioinformatics platform to discover novel predictive biomarkers to select patients for the best systemic treatment available.