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James Farrell, MBChB

Professor of Medicine; Director, Yale Center for Pancreatic Diseases

Research Summary

Dr James Farrell is focussed on research into early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer through studying high risk groups such as those with a strong family history of pancreatic cancer or inherited susceptibility genes, new onset diabetes and pancreatic cystic neoplasms. In addition he pursues novel approaches to the management of pancreatic cancer, including novel diagnostic and precision medicine approaches.

Extensive Research Description

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.

Research Interests

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

Public Health Interests

Biomarkers; Cancer

Clinical Trials