Advancing our understanding of human pancreatic diseases, especially acute and chronic pancreatitis, requires the cooperative effort of a network of clinical centers of excellence. The course objectives for PancreasFest 2012, Pancreatitis Thought Leaders Conference: Chronic Pancreatitis Definitions, Pain, Diabetes, and New Genetic Discoveries, will enhance progress on meeting research priorities identified by the National Commission of Digestive Diseases. The foundation for this conference derives from the NIDDK-supported North American Pancreatitis Study 2 (R01DK061451 and R01DK077906), for which the extensive phenotype and genotype data will be discussed by experts in the pancreas community. In addition, we have completed 3 years of ad hoc working groups at PancreasFest to help define the state of the art and future directions for research in recurrent acute pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis in terms of definitions, assessment, and interventions, including addressing the complications of pain and diabetes. The University of Pittsburgh has organized and hosted PancreasFest and its precursors since 1994. No other conference in the US focuses exclusively on fostering translational multi-center programs for pancreatic disorders. Attendees of past meetings uniformly praise PancreasFest for fostering collaborative research and emphasize the importance of having a small conference focused on pancreatic disorders. PancreasFest 2012 will be held on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA at the University Club on July 26-27th (Thurs-Fri). The NIDDK-sponsored sessions will be part of a larger event, which includes a CME course and the annual meeting of the Collaborative Alliance for Pancreatic Education and Research (CAPER). PancreasFest attendees include physicians and scientists with interest in the pancreas: pancreatologists, endoscopists, surgeons, radiologists, molecular biologists, geneticists, epidemiologists, statisticians, systems biologists and experts in biomarkers. We emphasize attendance by new faculty and fellows to ensure the next generation of pancreatic investigators works directly with and learn from - without repeating the mistakes of - senior researchers in the field. Key staff from the NIDDK is invited to provide perspective and discuss priorities. PancreasFest is also attended by representatives from industry and patient focused foundations, such as the National Pancreas Foundation.
PROGRAM NARRATIVE: PancreasFest 2012 will benefit patients who have and are at risk for pancreatitis and other pancreatic disorders, by providing a forum for leading experts in the field to discuss results of current research and identify the best methods for diagnosing, treating, monitoring, and preventing pancreatitis and other pancreatic disease. No other conference focuses on these disorders, and the meeting format encourages all attendees to participate in the discussion of how to provide the best possible clinical care.
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