Are you LEADING THE MOMENTOUS CHANGE? Take our survey on Innovation, Digital Transformation and Sustainability leaders

The “Pancreas Plus” project: supporting patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer is a malignant tumour with a poor prognosis. Today, it represents the fourth cause of death from cancer in Italy, and by 2030, it may become the second. Despite the therapeutic progress of recent years, mortality remains high at around 92% of patients five years after diagnosis. Discouraging results are attributable to non-specific and late symptoms, diagnoses made in the advanced stages of the tumour, and the absence of specific screening tests.

In this context, “Pancreas Plus” was born, as a project aiming to support patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer by creating an app with various functions: from prevention by acting on risk factors, to the treatment optimization phase, until follow-up.

“Pancreas Plus” is a new project launched by Unipancreas, in collaboration with the Departments of Management and Economics of the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, the Department of Clinical-Surgical, Diagnostic and Pediatric Sciences and the Department of Economics and Business Sciences of the University of Pavia, and the multidisciplinary centre ITIR – Institute for Transformative Innovation Research.

The peculiarity of the project is the definition and design approach of the app, conceived according to a co-production path that involves multiple stakeholders: from multidisciplinary health professionals to patients, their families, caregivers, associations in support of patients and research, the world of health policies and public bodies, the media, and private industry players.

The project aims to put the patient at the centre to grant full support throughout the treatment process. The co-production path will make it possible to collect and systematize multiple contributions from all the stakeholders involved, studying pathology from a managerial and organizational point of view.

The intent is to combine the patient’s perspective with that of the excellences involved: healthcare professionals of various specialities, but also local authorities, researchers, and private companies in the health sector. The project also combines two major topics of interest in the modern healthcare landscape: that of disease units (specifically, pancreas units) as innovative organizational models for managing diseases, and that of e-health and telemedicine.

Pancreas Plus” will therefore follow a rigorous scientific path aimed primarily at identifying the needs of patients through targeted questionnaires. The needs that emerge will then be discussed by a scientific committee comprising representatives of all the stakeholder categories mentioned above.

The final product, i.e. an agile and functional e-health tool, will be subject to co-evaluation, training and dissemination, also thanks to the other project partners (including the Pederzoli Hospital in Peschiera, the IRCCS Fondazione Policlinico San Matteo – Research and Teaching Hospital of Pavia, the association “Nastro Viola“).

The project was also the winner of a €20,000 grant from the competitive tender launched by the Roche Foundation for patients. The promoters and researchers are Francesca Dal Mas, a researcher in business economics at the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and co-chair of the ITIR Healthcare Transformation Lab; Lorenzo Cobianchi, a pancreatic surgeon at the IRCCS San Matteo and professor in General Surgery at the University of Pavia, as well as a member of the technical-scientific committee of ITIR, Giovanni Butturini, a pancreatic surgeon at the Pederzoli Hospital and founder of Unipancreas; Erica Pizzocaro, biologist, Vice-President of Unipancreas; Marzia Tripepi, a pancreatic surgeon at the Pederzoli Hospital and PhD student at the University of Verona.

The scientific publication relating to the “Pancreas Plus” research protocol is freely downloadable at the link: