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Pancreas Experts Meet in Pittsburgh to Discuss the Future of Pancreatic Surgery

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 12, 2010 – More than 40 of the world’s leading pancreatic surgeons will meet in Pittsburgh today to discuss the future of minimally invasive surgeries for pancreatic diseases. The group will establish a way to track outcomes of patients undergoing minimally invasive pancreas surgery around the world and decide how surgeons should train to utilize both laparoscopic and robotic procedures.

The Thought Leaders Symposium, sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, will address a wide variety of topics, including whether minimally invasive techniques should be used for pancreatic cancer surgery and whether surgical robots can perform the operations better than standard laparoscopic equipment.

“Whether benign or malignant, diseases of the pancreas strike a very small percentage of the population and minimally invasive surgeries to treat pancreatic conditions are relatively new to the field. Because of these factors, it’s important to collaborate with researchers from other centers to advance our knowledge of the best ways to provide patient care,” said Jim Moser, M.D., co-director of the UPMC Pancreatic Cancer Center, and a symposium course director.

According to Dr. Moser, minimally invasive procedures are now used regularly for pancreatic diseases and often are preferred over open surgeries. Because of this, ensuring both laparoscopic and robotic methods are used ethically and responsibly has become increasingly important.

“Minimally invasive surgery is the first major innovation in pancreatic cancer treatment in the last 75 years,” said Herb Zeh, M.D., assistant professor of surgery with the Division of Surgical Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and a symposium course director. “This symposium will help us to begin addressing the issues surrounding these surgeries, ultimately leading to the identification and tracking of critical markers for patient outcomes.”

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

As one of the nation’s leading academic centers for biomedical research, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine integrates advanced technology with basic science across a broad range of disciplines in a continuous quest to harness the power of new knowledge and improve the human condition. Driven mainly by the School of Medicine and its affiliates, Pitt has ranked among the top 10 recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health since 1997 and now ranks fifth in the nation, according to preliminary data for fiscal year 2008. Likewise, the School of Medicine is equally committed to advancing the quality and strength of its medical and graduate education programs, for which it is recognized as an innovative leader, and to training highly skilled, compassionate clinicians and creative scientists well-equipped to engage in world-class research. The School of Medicine is the academic partner of UPMC, which has collaborated with the University to raise the standard of medical excellence in Pittsburgh and to position health care as a driving force behind the region’s economy. For more information about the School of Medicine, see www.medschool.pitt.edu.

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