We have a major role in providing advice and help to patients and clinicians.
The European Registry of Hereditary Pancreatitis and Familial Pancreatic Cancer (EUROPAC) is a collaborative study involving pancreas specialists from around Europe.
It was established in Liverpool in 1997 by John Neoptolemos soon after the publication of the seminal paper by David Whitcomb from Pittsburgh in October 1996:
Whitcomb DC, Gorry MC, Preston RA, Furey W, Sossenheimer MJ, Ulrich CD, Martin SP, Gates LK Jr, Amann ST, Toskes PP, Liddle R, McGrath K, Uomo G, Post JC, Ehrlich GD. Hereditary pancreatitis is caused by a mutation in the cationic trypsinogen gene.
Nature Genetics 1996 ;14(2):141-5
There are two types of families EUROPAC is investigating.
(1) Families which appear to have an inherited cause of pancreatitis.
(2) Families which appear to have an inherited predisposition to pancreatic cancer.
We are gathering information and samples from members of these families in order to improve the scientific and clinical characterisation of hereditary pancreatic disease.
These and other inherited conditions have been shown to confer an increased risk of pancreatic cancer.
At present there is no proven screening programme for pancreatic cancer.
Given the importance of diagnosing pancreatic cancer at an early stage, EUROPAC has also developed a secondary screening study aimed at individuals deemed at an increased risk after a process of risk assessment.
EUROPAC is funded by a grant from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) via the Pancreas Biomedical Research Unit in Liverpool.