Our Initiative

Who We Are

The Pancreatic Cyst and Cancer Early Detection Center (PCC-EDC) is a combined community-based (Bigelow-Brand Advisory Board) and university-based (Indiana University and IU Health) effort to raise awareness of pancreatic cysts and cancer early detection and thereby elevate hope through research, education and treatment.

Our Vision

Our vision at IU Health and IU School of Medicine is aligned to the mission of the Pancreatic Cyst and Cancer Early Detection Center (PCC-EDC). Our vision is to promote early detection and prevent pancreatic cancer through rigorous identification, tracking and treatment of patients “at risk” for pancreatic cancer through a multidisciplinary screening clinic, registry, community outreach, education and research discovery.

Our Team

Dr. C. Max Schmidt, MD, PhD, MBA, FACS

Dr. C. Max Schmidt, MD, PhD, MBA, FACS, is Vice Chairman and Professor of Surgery and Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Indiana University (IU) School of Medicine. He received his bachelors (philosophy/ethics 1988), medical (MD 1992) and business (MBA, finance 1992) degrees at the University of Chicago. He received his PhD in Physiology and Biophysics from Georgetown University in 1998. He completed surgical residency (2000) and a pancreaticobiliary/alimentary tract faculty fellowship (2001) at Johns Hopkins.

Dr. Schmidt is currently an attending surgeon at IU Health with a practice focused on patients with pancreatic disease. His service commitment is reflected in his patient satisfaction scores which are top 10% since 2007 (>500 physicians) and top 1% in surgery. He is Founder and Director of the IU Health Pancreatic Cyst and Cancer Early Detection Center (PCC-EDC) www.pancyst.org which coordinates the care and follow-up of >1000 patients “at risk” of pancreatic cancer. He also directs the IU Health Pancreatic Robotic Surgery Program and has been performing robotic surgery for 10 years.

He is an internationally recognized expert on pancreatic disorders, specifically precancerous cystic lesions of the pancreas serving on the International Consensus Guidelines Committee for Treatment of IPMN and MCN and a number of scientific advisory boards including Redpath, Asuragen and Mauna Kea Technologies. He is the current Chair of a Scientific Advisory Board for Interpace Diagnostics. He is the immediate past-President (2011-14) of the Association for Academic Surgery Foundation (AASF) and former Treasurer of the AAS. He initiated an international outreach program to teach the fundamentals of surgical research in France and has facilitated a similar program in Australia. He has served on several national surgical organization committees/councils including the Society for University Surgeons (SUS), Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract (SSAT), Central Surgical Association (CSA) and the Midwest Surgical Association (MSA). He is a member of the American Surgical Association and the Society of Clinical Surgery.

Dr. Schmidt performs clinical trials and translational research directed at discovering novel biomarkers and targeted treatments for patients with pancreatic disease. His research has been continuously funded for 14 years. Funding sources have included the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Veteran’s Affairs (VA), American Cancer Society (ACS), American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN), Lustgarten Foundation and Bigelow-Brand Charity.

He is Founder of “B9”, a company which specializes in the development of “benign” biomarkers. In the community, he has a significant following for his clinical and research work as evidenced by his patient advocacy board, the Bigelow-Brand Charity Advisory Board. The community board raises >$100K/yr in support of early detection research. He has served as member/chair on multiple community boards including College Mentors for Kids (CMFK), a national mentoring organization. Dr. Schmidt was recently featured on the cover of Indianapolis Magazine as a 2012 Top Doc and was a 2013 Finalist for the Indianapolis Business Journal’s Health Care Heroes Award. The Pancreatic Cyst and Cancer Early Detection Center has been featured on multiple local TV and radio networks. He has been happily married for 27 years to Christine Schmidt, BS, RN, MSN, MBA. He has 5 children ages 20 (Christian, Indiana U. 2017), 19 (Catherine, IUPUI 2018), 18 (Annika, U. Connecticut 2019), 16 (Sam), and 9 (Mia).

For more information about the PCC-EDC’s research and education programs, please contact Dr. C. Max Schmidt directly via email maxschmi@iupui.edu or by phone
317-372-9011 (cell).

IU Pancreatic Cyst and Cancer Early Detection Clinic (PCC-EDC)

The Indiana University Pancreatic Cyst and Cancer Early Detection Clinic (PCC-EDC) coordinates the care, follow-up and research involving >1000 patients at increased risk of pancreatic cancer. It is located in Indiana University Health University Hospital on the IU School of Medicine Campus in Indianapolis, IN. The Clinic seeks to accurately identify, screen and risk stratify patients at increased risk for pancreatic cancer to promote early detection and prevention of pancreatic cancer. The Clinic keeps a registry to track all patients to optimize follow-up and update patients of new developments. The Clinic is multidisciplinary (surgery, gastroenterology, radiology, pathology, cytopathology, cytogenetics, nutrition and social work) to promote optimal care. All patient consultations and visits are routinely performed by a pancreatic surgeon or pancreatologist.

Staff Listing:

Akisik, Fatih – MDMD
Radiology Body Imaging Director
makisik@iupui.edu

Ceppa, Eugene – MD
Surgical Co-Director
eceppa@iupui.edu

Cramer, Harvey – MD
Cytopathology Director
hcramer@iupui.edu

Cummings, William O. – MD
Pathology Director
ocumming@iupui.edu

DeWitt, John – MD
GI Medical Staff
jodewitt@iupui.edu

Easler, Jeffrey – MD
GI Medical Staff
jjeasler@iu.edu

Harton, Molly
Physician Assistant
mharton@iu.edu

Rempala-Kurucz, Jennifer
RN Pancreatic Cyst Program Navigator
jrempalakuru@iuhealth.org

Roch, Alexandra – MD
Clinical Fellow
alexroch@iupui.edu

Scherf, Kathy
RN Clinical Nurse
kscherf@iuhealth.org

Schmidt, C. Max – MD
Surgical Director
maxschmi@iupui.edu

Strange, Nancy
RN Nutrition Staff
nstrange@iuhealth.org

Sullivan, Amber
New Patient Scheduling
ambsulli@iupui.edu

Vance, Gail – MD
MD Cytogenetics Staff
ghvance@iu.edu

 

The PCC-EDC is located on the 1st floor in the surgical outpatient area (SOPA) of Indiana University Health University Hospital, 550 University Blvd, Indianapolis, IN 46202.

New/Established Patients:
Amber Sullivan
317-948-8358
ambsulli@iupui.edu

Clinic Nurses:
Kathy Scherf
317-948-3404

IU-Regenstrief Pancreatic Cyst Registry (IUPCR)

The IUPCR tracks patients with pancreatic cysts and others at increased risk for pancreatic cancer across Indiana and adjacent states. The IUPCR accomplishes this through the resources of the Regenstrief Institute. The Regenstrief Institute is one of the world’s largest medical informatics institutions. It currently tracks all of the medical text files generated from 90% of the medical institutions in the state of Indiana as well as a significant number of medical institutions from contiguous states.

The IUPCR tracks patients with pancreatic cysts, family history of pancreatic cancer and others at increased risk for pancreatic cancer across Indiana and adjacent states. The IUPCR accomplishes this through the resources of the Regenstrief Institute. The Regenstrief Institute is one of the world’s largest medical informatics institutions. It currently tracks all of the medical text files generated from 90% of the medical institutions in the state of Indiana as well as a significant number of medical institutions from contiguous states.

Through a joint IU Health-IU School of Medicine collaboration with Regenstrief and the School of Bioinformatics, we have designed a program using natural language processing to identify patients at increased risk of pancreatic cancer. Execution of this program identifies patients at increased risk of pancreatic cancer with a high degree of validity and accuracy. A recent study identified 5000 unique patients within IU Health at increased risk of pancreatic cancer. At Eskenazi Health, the implementation phase of this work has evolved to designing software to educate care providers of their patient’s risk stratification prospectively.

The IUPCR is a regional health initiative which is readily templatable to other regional health organization networks similar to Regenstrief throughout the country. A coordinated nationwide pancreatic cyst registry and cancer early detection program is readily achievable with this technology and adequate resources.

The IU-Regenstrief Pancreatic Cyst Registry (IUPCR) program uses cutting edge informatic technology to track patients at increased risk of pancreatic cancer on a regional scale. The Registry is primarily executed by Regenstrief Associates Dr. Jeff Friedlin jfriedlin2@gmail.com and Joe Kesterson jkesterson@regenstrief.org.

The Regenstrief Institute has two locations in and adjacent to the IU School of Medicine Campus in Indianapolis, IN:

  • Regenstrief Institute, Inc.
    410 West 10th Street, Suite 2000
    Indianapolis, IN 46202-3012
    Main line: 317-423-5500

  • Regenstrief Institute, Inc.
    1050 Wishard Boulevard, 6th Floor
    Indianapolis, IN 46202-2872
    Main line: 317-630-6083
IU Pancreatic Tissue-Fluid Bank (IUPTB)

The IU Pancreatic Tissue-Fluid Bank is a specimen biorepository of patient tissues and bodily fluids (including serum, plasma, urine, bile, pancreatic cyst and duct fluid) directed by the principal investigator (C. Max Schmidt, MD). Currently, over 1800 patients and 4000 patient samples exist within the IUPTB.

IU Health University Hospital is a tertiary referral center with a large referral base for pancreatic neoplasms. An estimated 70 pancreatic cystic lesions and 120 pancreatic cancer per year are resected at this hospital. The IUPTB currently captures approximately 95% of all patients undergoing pancreatic cyst and cancer resection at IU Hospital.

To optimize this scarce resource for scientists, we have also developed a rapid method to grow human pancreatic tumors in animal hosts to increase the quantity of human tumor tissue available for scientific study. This method has been established in collaboration with Dr. Anirban Maitra at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

The IU Pancreatic Tissue-Fluid Bank (IUPTB) is a specimen biorepository of patient tissues established in 2002 for the purpose of advancing the understanding and treatment of pancreatic cysts and cancer.

The IUPTB is located on the IU School of Medicine Campus in the R3 Building, 980 W. Walnut Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202. The IUPTB is directed by C. Max Schmidt, MD.

Scientific inquiries about use of the IUPTB resource for research endeavors should be directed to C. Max Schmidt, MD maxschmi@iupui.edu.

Staff who support the IUPTB include:

Joey Calcagno
Regulatory Specialist
jcalcagn@iu.edu

Huangbing Wu
Research Associate
huwu@iupui.edu 

IU Pancreatic Cyst and Cancer Biomarker Discovery Lab (IUPCL)

The IU Pancreatic Cyst and Cancer Biomarker Discovery Lab performs clinical trials and translational research directed at discovering novel biomarkers and targeted treatments of patients with pancreatic cysts and cancer. Recent discoveries have established an accurate pancreatic cyst fluid marker of benign (serous) cystic lesions. Recent collaborations with Dr. Bert Vogelstein (Johns Hopkins) and Peter Allen (Memorial Sloan Kettering) funded by the Lustgarten Foundation have resulted in discovery of an accurate pancreatic cyst fluid marker of intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMN). Press releases on these pancreatic cyst markers will be forthcoming.

The Lab is or has been independently funded for 11 years by the following organizations:

The IU Pancreatic Cyst and Cancer Biomarker Discovery Lab (IUPCL) performs clinical trials and translational research directed at discovering novel biomarkers and targeted treatments of patients with pancreatic cysts and cancer. The Lab seeks collaborations with scientists who seek similar objectives.

The IUPCL is located on the IU School of Medicine Campus in the R3 Building, 980 W. Walnut Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202. The IUPCL is directed by C. Max Schmidt.

IUPCL Staff directory follows:

C. Max Schmidt, MD, PhD, MBA, FACS
Principal Investigator
maxschmi@iupui.edu

Huangbing Wu
Research Associate
huwu@iupui.edu

Michele Yip-Schneider, PhD
Co-Scientific Director
myipschn@iupui.edu

Bigelow-Brand Charity Advisory Board

The Bigelow and Brand Families have joined together to form the Bigelow-Brand Charity Advisory Board, dedicated to raising awareness and hope in supporting pancreatic cancer research.

Pancreatic cancer is known as the “deadliest cancer”. This is because its incidence is nearly equal to its death rate. No treatment aside from surgery in a select few can significantly prolong survival. Unfortunately, pancreatic cancer is not an uncommon tragedy. In fact, this year the death rate from pancreatic cancer will match the death rate of breast cancer in the United States.

Inadequate funding for research has stifled advancements in care. While a cure is actively being sought, screening and early detection offers hope for patients who fall in high risk groups (e.g., patients with pancreatic cysts and/or hereditary pancreatic cancer). Nonetheless, awareness is lacking and efforts to educate and treat patients and care providers are not yet broadly applied in a coordinated fashion to affect outcomes in these high risk groups.

Indiana University (IU) Health and IU School of Medicine are leading efforts to find a cure for pancreatic cancer and perform screening/early detection in high risk groups. IU sees more patients with pancreatic disorders and does more pancreatic-directed procedures than any single institution in the country. With your support, they are poised to make a significant impact.

The Bigelow and Brand Families Thank You for joining them in their mission to change the outcome of this deadly disease.

Mike Bigelow (“Bigs”), former Eli Lilly attorney, lost his life to pancreatic cancer at age 41. He left behind his wife Kris and three young children. In his memory, the “Bigs” Charity Advisory Board was formed with the mission to raise awareness and hope in supporting pancreatic cancer research.

The “Bigs” Charity Advisory Board, led by Whitey Kapsalis, recruited Peg Brand to join their efforts and together became the Bigelow-Brand Charity Advisory Board. Peg lost her husband, Myles Brand to the same deadly cancer that took the life of Mike Bigelow.

The Bigelow-Brand Charity Advisory Board is always looking for volunteers and new members to help raise awareness and hope in supporting pancreatic cancer research. If interested, please reach out to Whitey Kapsalis at whiteyiu14@gmail.com.

Join Us

Join us as we seek to stamp out the nihilism about pancreatic cancer, raise awareness of pancreatic cysts and cancer early detection, and elevate hope through research, education and treatment.

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