Illustration-v2A multidisciplinary Liver and Pancreas Institute slated to launch at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in 2020 will provide a convenient, “one-stop” experience for people with complex liver and pancreas disorders.

The new institute will streamline care for patients who need to see multiple specialists, while improving access to clinical trials. Team members also plan to create a robust liver and pancreas biorepository, which will lay the groundwork for novel research.

Previous partnership paves the way for new program

Plans for the Liver and Pancreas Institute were set in motion by gastroenterologist Georgios Papachristou, MD, PhD, and surgical oncologist Allan Tsung, MD, who both joined Ohio State in 2019 after distinguished careers at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Having collaborated on patient care in their previous roles, Drs. Papachristou and Tsung — who are both professors at the College of Medicine — realized they could leverage Ohio State’s existing capabilities to create a fresh, forward-thinking model of care that benefits patients and physicians alike.

“Ohio State already has all the programs and services necessary to provide world-class liver and pancreas care, but we want to simplify the patient pathway,” says Dr. Tsung, who is chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology and co-director of the Gastrointestinal Disease Specific Research Group at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

“Instead of having patients schedule several appointments with different specialists spread out over days or weeks, we’ll bring the team to them,” he explains. “Patients will be able to see all of the providers involved in their care on the same day, under one roof. This will reduce travel to our campus and ensure treatments begin promptly.”

Outstanding guidance and support

Ohio State’s Liver and Pancreas Institute will bring together experts in gastroenterology, hepatology, medical or surgical oncology, liver transplantation, advanced endoscopy, interventional radiology, radiation oncology and pathology. Together with ancillary providers such as dietitians and psychologists, clinicians will reach consensus on the best course of treatment for every patient.

“At the heart of this collaboration is our team of navigators, who will guide patients through each stage of care,” says Dr. Papachristou, director of Advanced Endoscopy and vice chair of Translational Research in the Department of Internal Medicine. “Whether their condition is benign or cancerous, newly diagnosed patients are often frightened and overwhelmed. Having one-on-one support from the navigators will help ensure patients have better quality of care and a more positive experience overall.”

Combining clinical care and clinical research

Building off Ohio State’s legacy of leading-edge research, Dr. Tsung says he and his colleagues aim to enroll all Liver and Pancreas Institute patients in prospective registries.

“We plan to create a centralized biorepository to capture clinical information and biospecimens up front, and then follow those patients over time,” he says. “This will enhance our ability to better understand our patients’ conditions, improve outcomes, and conduct innovative research on the causes and complications of pancreatic and liver diseases.”

Dr. Papachristou adds that, while the new institute is housed at Ohio State, it’s open to patients from across the country.

“Broadly speaking, these are challenging disorders that often require advanced interventions as well as long-term care,” he says. “We will work closely with physicians from around the country, and welcome referrals for clinical trial enrollment or second opinions. Our goal is to help anyone with a challenging liver or pancreas disorder get the care they need to improve quality of life.”

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