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James Farrell, MBChB

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Professor of Medicine (Digestive Diseases)


Director, Yale Center for Pancreatic Diseases

Contact Info

Yale School of Medicine

Department of Medicine (Digestive Diseases), PO Box 208019

New Haven, CT 06520-8019

United States



Professor of Medicine (Digestive Diseases)

Director, Yale Center for Pancreatic Diseases


Dr James Farrell MD, Professor of Medicine, Professor of Surgery, and Director, Yale Center for Pancreatic Disease, is an internationally recognized expert in pancreatic disease treatment and research. In addition to his clinical work on the endoscopic evaluation of autoimmune pancreatitis and pancreatic cysts, he is also known for his development of personalized therapy approaches for pancreatic cancer and early detection biomarkers for pancreatic cancer.

Dr Farrell received his medical degree from University College Dublin, Ireland, graduating first in his medical school class. He completed internal medicine training at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore and a Gastroenterology Fellowship at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. He subsequently pursued additional Advanced Therapeutic Endoscopic fellowship training at the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. After fellowship, he was recruited to UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles where he developed the largest Endoscopic Ultrasound program in California and became a founding member of the UCLA Center for Pancreatic Diseases. In 2013 he was recruited to lead the Yale Center for Pancreatic Diseases at Yale School of Medicine and the Yale New Haven Hospital, while also joining the existing Yale Interventional Endoscopy Program. He also currently directs the Smilow Cancer Center High Risk Pancreas Cancer Early Detection Clinic and the Yale Digestive Health Pancreatic Cyst Program.

In addition to his clinical practice in pancreatic disease and interventional endoscopy, his clinical research has focused on early detection of pancreatic cancer including studying pancreatitis, high- risk individuals (e.g., inherited mutations, family history) and pancreatic cysts. His translational research includes the development of personalized therapy approaches for pancreatic cancer and the discovery and evaluation of biomarkers in pancreatic disease.

Dr Farrell is board certified in Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology and Clinical Pharmacology. He is the author of numerous publications, is invited to speak nationally and internationally, and maintains a vigorous clinical practice focused on all aspects of interventional endoscopy, gastrointestinal cancer, and pancreatic diseases.


Education & Training

Clinical Pharmacology Fellow
UCLA School of Medicine (2007)
Advanced Interventional Endoscopy Fellowship
Massachusetts General Hospital & Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA (2001)
Clinical and Research Fellow in Gastroenterology
Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA (2000)
Internal Medicine Residency
The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD (1997)
Visiting Clinical Fellow
The Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (1997)
Visiting Clinical Fellow
King’s College Hospital, London, England. (1995)
Resident in Gastroenterology and Oncology
St James’ University Hospital, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland (1994)
University College (1992)
Internal Medicine Residency
St Vincent’s University Hospital, University College Dublin, Ireland (1992)



Dr James Farrell has leveraged his clinical expertise and activities as a practicing clinical gastroenterologist, board certified clinical pharmacologist, and interventional endoscopist to create a successful clinical and translational research program focused on pancreatic cancer in the areas of early pancreatic cancer diagnosis, pancreatic cystic neoplasms and pancreatic cancer therapeutics and pharmacogenomics.

1. Early Diagnosis of Pancreatic Cancer

In addition to studying potential salivary transcriptomic and bacterial biomarkers for early detection in pancreatic cancer, he was the UCLA-PI for CAPS3, the Yale_PI for CAPS5, large prospective multicenter pancreatic cancer screening studies in at-risk individuals based on family history of pancreatic cancer and/or inherited germline mutations ( e.g. BRCA2), the Yale_PI for PanFAM1, a prospective biomarker analysis of high risk individuals, and a member of the International Pancreatic Cancer Screening and PRECEDE Consortia.

2. Pancreatic Cystic Neoplasms

Dr Farrell’s clinical and translational research work in the field of pancreatic cystic neoplasms has ranged from studies validating current clinical guidelines, to the development of clinically useful nomograms for patients with pancreatic cysts, to studies aimed at identifying novel pancreatic cyst fluid proteomic and microRNA biomarkers. To this end, he initiated and maintain a pancreatic cyst fluid research biobank (2001 to present) which has now over 400 patient pancreatic cyst fluid specimens with clinical and pathologic correlation. Currently he serves as the Yale PI for ECOG-ACRIN 2185, A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial studying surveillance practices for individuals with Pancreatic Cysts.

3. Pancreatic Cancer Therapeutics and Personalized Medicine

Dr Farrell’s work in the field of pancreatic cancer therapeutics has included exploration of Endoscopic ultrasound guided tumor injection with gene therapy as well as the development and validation of treatment predictive pharmacogenomic markers in pancreatic cancer. In addition to his work looking at SNPs as predictive markers of treatment response and toxicity, in collaboration with the RTOG Co-operative trials group, he validated hENT1 (human equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1) as a predictive marker of gemcitabine responsivity in pancreatic cancer. This has directly led to the development of a commercially available hENT1 based tissue assay and the first hENT1 biomarker driven multicenter treatment trial in pancreatic cancer.

Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)

Barrett Esophagus; Bile Duct Neoplasms; Biliary Tract Diseases; Biliary Tract Neoplasms; Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal; Cholangitis; Cholangitis, Sclerosing; Cholecystitis; Cholecystitis, Acute; Cholecystolithiasis; Choledochal Cyst; Choledocholithiasis; Cholelithiasis; Cholestasis; Cholestasis, Extrahepatic; Cholestasis, Intrahepatic; Colonic Neoplasms; Colorectal Neoplasms; Colorectal Neoplasms, Hereditary Nonpolyposis; Common Bile Duct Diseases; Common Bile Duct Neoplasms; Digestive System Abnormalities; Digestive System Diseases; Digestive System Neoplasms; Duodenal Neoplasms; Emphysematous Cholecystitis; Esophageal Cyst; Esophageal Diseases; Esophageal Fistula; Esophageal Neoplasms; Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency; Gallbladder Diseases; Gallstones; Gastric Fistula; Gastrinoma; Gastrointestinal Diseases; Gastrointestinal Neoplasms; Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors; Glucagonoma; Ileal Neoplasms; Intestinal Neoplasms; Pancreatic Cyst; Pancreatic Diseases; Pancreatic Fistula; Pancreatic Neoplasms; Pancreatic Pseudocyst; Rectal Neoplasms; Stomach Neoplasms

Research at a Glance

Yale Co-Authors

Frequent collaborators of James Farrell's published research.





Clinical Trials

Current Trials

Clinical Care


James Farrell, MBChB, is an internationally recognized expert in gastrointestinal endoscopy and pancreatic diseases. He maintains a busy clinical practice focused on all aspects of interventional endoscopy, gastrointestinal cancer, and pancreatic diseases including endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) and endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) evaluation of pancreatic cancer, pancreatic cysts, pancreatitis, and individuals at risk for pancreatic malignancy.

“My main clinical commitment is to take care of the patient, and specifically improve outcomes for patients with pancreatic disease, either by early diagnosis or by optimizing treatment,” he says. “I tell patients and their families that there are many diagnostic and treatment options available, and my goal is to guide them in choosing the appropriate options using evidence-based medicine.”

In addition to his clinical work and research, Dr. Farrell is director of the Yale Medicine Pancreatic Diseases Program, which brings together a variety of pancreatic specialists including gastroenterologists, surgeons, oncologists, and nurses who focus on pancreatic disease. “The multidisciplinary approach to the diagnosis and management of pancreatic disease ensures patient access to the "state-of-the-art" advances in this field, and ensures best patient outcomes," Dr. Farrell says.

Dr. Farrell has addressed pancreatic disease on a national and international level as a member of such organizations as the NIH/NCI Pancreas Cancer Task Force. As a researcher, he is known for his development of personalized therapy approaches and early detection biomarkers for pancreatic cancer.

He is professor of medicine (digestive diseases) at Yale School of Medicine.

Clinical Specialties

Genetics; Gastroenterology; Gastrointestinal Oncology; Hepatology

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Yale School of Medicine

Department of Medicine (Digestive Diseases), PO Box 208019

New Haven, CT 06520-8019

United States


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