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 Vincent J. Picozzi Jr, MD
Vincent J. Picozzi Jr, MD

SEATTLE – (May 7, 2020) Virginia Mason has joined 14 other medical institutions and cancer research centers across the nation in activating Precision Promise, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s (PanCAN) innovative adaptive clinical trial designed to accelerate exploration and approval of new treatment options. 

The clinical trial seeks to more quickly test therapies by requiring fewer participating patients for researchers to determine if a proposed treatment is effective. Also, multiple investigational therapies can be tested simultaneously. Eligible participants may have the opportunity to receive first- and second-line treatment options. As a result, learning and discovery are expected to occur as much as 70% faster than with traditional pancreatic cancer clinical trials, experts predict.

Time is critical for individuals with pancreatic cancer. In the United States, an estimated 57,000 people will be diagnosed with the disease this year; on average, 65% of patients die within the first year after a diagnosis.

“By transforming how clinical research is done for pancreatic cancer, Precision Promise could be a game changer for medicine and patients,” said Vincent Picozzi, MD, director of the Pancreatic Cancer Center of Excellence at Virginia Mason and co-principal investigator for Precision Promise. He is also a member, and past chair, of the PanCAN Scientific and Medical Advisory Board.

Virginia Mason has been a leader in pancreatic cancer research and treatment for more than 40 years, with patient survival rates double the national average, according to the National Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program. Pancreatic cancer has often been called a “silent cancer” because it doesn’t usually cause symptoms that allow it to be diagnosed and treated early. Learn more about the condition.

Julie Fleshman, president and CEO of PanCAN, said the patient advocacy group is disrupting the clinical trial process with Precision Promise in order to accelerate progress for patients. “Precision Promise is designed to be a hub of learning, collaboration and advancement for the entire pancreatic cancer research community and through it we aim to generate the most comprehensive data set about patients living with pancreatic cancer,” she added. “This will inform the treatment of future patients and advance the scientific field. We are pleased to give pancreatic cancer patients at Virginia Mason this new and unprecedented clinical trial option.”

In addition to investigating potential treatment options, Precision Promise will investigate supportive care measures in order to broaden understanding of factors that contribute to the patient’s quality of life, like pain management and physical and social activities. PanCAN’s Precision Promise Supportive Care Committee will publish learnings for health care professionals with the goal of improving outcomes.


Despite challenges presented by the COVID-19 crisis, Virginia Mason has largely been able to maintain its cancer clinical research program, including in pancreatic cancer. Dr. Picozzi will co-host a national webinar, titled “Navigating Pancreatic Cancer During the Coronavirus Crisis,” on Friday, May 8, from 10-11 a.m. PDT. Click here to register for this free webinar.

About Virginia Mason Health System
Virginia Mason, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system based in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. In the Puget Sound region, the system includes 336-bed Virginia Mason Hospital; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 500 physicians; outpatient medical facilities and services in Seattle, Bainbridge Island, Bellevue, Edmonds, Federal Way, Kirkland, Issaquah and Lynnwood; Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the United States designed specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS; Benaroya Research Institute, which is internationally recognized for autoimmune disease research; Virginia Mason Foundation; and Virginia Mason Institute, which trains health care professionals and others around the world in the Virginia Mason Production System, an innovative management method for improving quality and safety.

Virginia Mason Health System also includes Virginia Mason Memorial, a 226-bed hospital serving Yakima Valley in central Washington since 1950. Virginia Mason Memorial includes primary care practices and specialty care services, including high-quality cardiac care; cancer care through North Star Lodge; breast health at `Ohana Mammography Center; acute hospice and respite care at Cottage in the Meadow; pain management at Water’s Edge; an advanced NICU unit that offers specialty care for at-risk infants; advanced services for children with special health care needs at Children’s Village; and The Memorial Foundation.

Media Contact:
Gale Robinette
Media Relations Manager
Virginia Mason Health System
(206) 341-1509

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