Rolfe Announces Grant to Support Expansion of Online       Early Detection Tools

Improved Tablet-Based App Aims to Help Clinicians Uncover Family History, Guide Patient Treatment, and Increase Survival Rates

(CHICAGO) June 22, 2017 – The Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation, a leading Midwest institution with a mission of being a catalyst for the early detection and ultimate cure of pancreatic cancer, today announced a $100,000 grant for Diane Simeone, M.D., Director of the Pancreatic Cancer Center at NYU Langone Medical Center, in partnership with genetic software company Progeny. The grant aims to strengthen a tablet-based pancreatic cancer family history tool to gather complete, detailed familial data and guide clinical care for patients and family members, while improving early detection testing criteria. 

“We know that early detection of pancreatic cancer can significantly impact survival rates for this deadly disease,” said Jim Rolfe, president of the board of directors for the Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation. “The development of improved technology to assess family history relating to pancreatic cancer opens new opportunities for early detection and treatment of this disease. We are proud to support Dr. Simeone as she leads this endeavor.”

The ability of clinicians and researchers to gather a robust family cancer history is a critical first step to appropriately identifying individuals who may benefit from genetic counseling, genetic testing, and early detection and prevention programs for pancreatic cancer. The improved tablet-based tool could increase clinical and research utility by integrating patient information into the electronic medical record and improve risk assessment capability by marking at-risk patients for further evaluation. If caught early, the five-year survival rate of pancreatic cancer rises from seven to 25 percent.

“Our previous efforts to curb the impact of pancreatic cancer on patients revealed a large gap in identifying high-risk individuals,” said Dr. Simeone, who leads the pancreatic cancer center at NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center. “This grant will help us close that gap by enhancing a digital tool that the entire clinical community can access. We now have the opportunity to provide streamlined genetic testing to pancreatic cancer patients and their families by increasing access to genetic services.”

According to Rolfe, the five-year survival rate for all other major cancers has significantly increased because of early detection tools and education, but pancreatic cancer has not seen any improvement. “We hope the results of this grant serve as a catalyst for the early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer,” he said.

Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation is a leading Midwest institution with a mission of being a catalyst for the early detection and ultimate cure of pancreatic cancer. The organization funds medical research at leading clinical and academic centers, and provides support to patients and their loved ones. The organization was started when the friends and family of Michael Rolfe, moved by his brief and brave battle with pancreatic cancer, resolved to ensure that future diagnoses of pancreatic cancer wouldn’t be the grim sentence that Michael’s was.