Ohio State Earns National Pancreas Foundation Center Designation

September 07, 2015
Illustration of stage 3 pancreas cancer

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State’s multidisciplinary pancreas program — which treats both cancerous and non-cancerous conditions of the pancreas — has been designated as a National Pancreas Foundation (NPF) Center, one of 30 hospitals nationwide and the only adult hospital in Ohio to earn this distinction.

The program is a collaboration of the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. It is led by Tanios Bekaii- Saab, MD, section chief for gastrointestinal cancer, and Phillip Hart, MD, director of pancreatic disorders.

“This is a major achievement that demonstrates we are one of the most comprehensive pancreatic disorders clinics in the nation, and we are proud to offer this level of specialized care to patients in Ohio and beyond,” said Darwin Conwell, MD, director of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.

NPF Designation Process, Criteria

NPF Centers must pass a rigorous review to demonstrate the hospital’s focus on multidisciplinary treatment of pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer, with an emphasis on providing the best possible outcomes and quality of life considerations. Criteria include: having the required physician specialties such as gastroenterologists, pancreas surgeons, interventional radiologists and a gastrointestinal pathologist; patient support services such as pain management, nutrition and psychosocial support; and access to innovative clinical trials.

“Our center is even more robust than the minimal NPF requirements, housing a unique multidisciplinary pancreatic disorders clinic that includes gastrointestinal oncology, surgical oncology, radiation oncology and advanced abdominal imaging,” adds Conwell.

Acute pancreatitis results in nearly 300,000 hospital admissions each year and pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. Approximately three percent of pancreatic cancer patients have a history of chronic pancreatitis.

Pancreas Cancer Research at the OSUCCC – James

“Managing pancreatic disorders can be very challenging and requires a fully collaborative approach to succeed in helping patients affected by these conditions. Our team is dedicated to continued improvement through research,” says Bekaii-Saab.

OSUCCC – James researchers are conducting basic, translational and clinical research investigating immunotherapeutic approaches, new molecularly targeted therapies, the use of genomic selection data to more effectively cancer pathways and novel strategies to combat cachexia — a condition that causes extreme muscle loss that is common among pancreatic cancer patients.

Learn more about the OSUCCC – James pancreatic cancer team by calling The James Line at 800-293-5066.

About the OSUCCC – James

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute strives to create a cancer-free world by integrating scientific research with excellence in education and patient-centered care, a strategy that leads to better methods of prevention, detection and treatment. Ohio State is one of only 45 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers and one of only four centers funded by the NCI to conduct both phase I and phase II clinical trials on novel anticancer drugs. As the cancer program’s 306-bed adult patient-care component, The James is one of the top cancer hospitals in the nation as ranked by U.S. News & World Report and has achieved Magnet designation, the highest honor an organization can receive for quality patient care and professional nursing practice. At 21 floors with more than 1.1 million square feet, The James is a transformational facility that fosters collaboration and integration of cancer research and clinical cancer care.


Media Contact: Amanda J. Harper
Director, Media Relations, OSUCCC – James
614-685-5420 (direct)
614-293-3737 (media main)

Contact Media Staff

Amanda Harper

Director of Media Relations

614-685-5420 (direct)

614-293-3737 (main)


Media staff are available by calling 614-293-3737 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.


If after hours, please call 614-293-8000 (ask the operator to page the hospital administrative manager).