Advancing our understanding of human pancreatic diseases, especially acute and chronic pancreatitis, requires the cooperative effort of a network of clinical centers of excellence and the regular meeting of thought leaders in the field. The course objectives for PancreasFest 2014: Risks and Mechanisms of Pancreatitis and Pancreatic Diabetes, will enhance progress on meeting research priorities highlighted by the National Commission of Digestive Diseases. Specifically, we will 1) Critically review genetic and environmental risk factors associated with development of pancreatitis and pancreatic fibrosis and pancreatic pain;2);Critically review origin and progression of pancreatic (Type 3c) diabetes and its relationship to pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma;and 3) Discuss strategies for translation of new scientific discoveries into clinical trials and practice, including needs analyss and criteria for defining standards of care. 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 research 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. Multiple clinical working groups that focus on areas of NIDDK interest have emerged over the years through PancreasFest. Typically 130-150 diverse professionals register for PancreasFest each year, including physicians and scientists with interest in the pancreas: pancreatologists, endoscopists, endocrinologists, 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 learns from senior researchers in the field. Key staff from the NIDDK are 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. PancreasFest 2014 will be held on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA at the University Club on July 23-25, 2014. The NIDDK-sponsored sessions will be part of a larger event, which includes a CME course and the annual meetings of the North American Pancreatic Study Groups, the International Study Group of Pediatric Pancreatitis: In search for a cure (INSPPIRE), and the Collaborative Alliance for Pancreatic Education and Research (CAPER), which is devoted to enhancing the career development of junior physician scientists in the field of pancreatology.
PancreasFest 2014 will benefit patients who have and are at risk for pancreatitis, pancreatic diabetes, pancreatic cancer, 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.