Support Pancreatic Cancer Canada’s campaign for Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
Pancreatic Cancer

It’s a race against the clock for patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer, these doctors are helping to buy time.

Using cutting-edge technology, a team of top doctors will test multiple treatments on a patient’s cancer cells to determine which would be most effective.

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
Toronto, Canada
Dr. Jennifer Knox, MD
Lead Researcher
Dr. Elizabeth Jaffee, MD
Lead Researcher


of $300,000 goal

Champion this research!

Champions take a more active role in supporting a research project. They help drive awareness and donations by promoting the project with their network and/or matching donations.


Kernls helps fund medical science

Kernls is a platform where you can access and donate directly to scientific research projects from top scientists at world-renown institutions. Read our FAQ

Project Summary

Dr. Jennifer Knox and her team at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre are working to change that with a new research project called PASS-01, which aims to broaden our understanding of this disease to ultimately give patients their greatest chance at a longer life.

Doctors currently don’t know enough about the different subtypes of pancreatic cancer to determine which of the two leading chemotherapy treatments might actually help an individual patient.

Through the use of genomic analysis and organoid technology, PASS-01 aims to determine potential predictors of patient response to chemotherapy. As well, PASS-01 will explore the identification of specific biomarkers that indicate which patients respond better to one treatment or another.

timeProject Length4 years
targetGoalOur goal is to give patients with advanced pancreatic cancer the greatest possibility of a longer life through personalized medicine. To do this we need to increase foundational understanding about the different subtypes of pancreatic cancer and the efficacy of potential biomarkers to help inform treatment plans for future patients.
bottleResearch TypeExploratory research

Why This Research is Important


Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related death in both the United States and Canada


The five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer is around 10% in the United States and 8% in Canada

PASS-01 will explore survival differences in the two standard regimens used to treat advanced pancreatic cancer. Due to a lack of biomarker-driven research, many previous studies have failed. PASS-01 is prioritizing biomarker studies to ensure patients receive the right treatment at the right time.

This study will evaluate two standards of chemotherapy regimens, and determine whether researchers can predict which treatment will be more effective from the start. This will be done by evaluating tumour molecular profiling, chemotherapy sensitivity signatures, GATA6 expression, and other existing biomarkers. Also, patient-derived tumour avatars (called organoids) are used to see in real-time, which treatment will be most effective for each individual patient.

What Funding Helps Achieve

  • The ability to give metastatic pancreatic cancer patients more time with their loved ones.
  • Building on personalized medicine by exploring individual treatments for pancreatic cancer subtypes.
Genome and RNAseq for 80 patients (approx. $3000/patient) = $232,000 (USD)

Research Team

Jennifer Knox, MD

Lead Researcher



H-Index reflects how often a researcher's published work is cited by others. It's used as an indication of their impact and productivity.

: 72

Elizabeth Jaffee, MD

Lead Researcher



H-Index reflects how often a researcher's published work is cited by others. It's used as an indication of their impact and productivity.

: 80

Dr. Jennifer Knox is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto, working as a staff Medical Oncologist and Researcher since 2001. Dr. Knox is currently the head of Solid Tumour Medical Oncology Group at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto and Co-Director of the McCain Centre for Pancreatic Cancer. She received her medical degree from the University of Toronto in 1995 and completed her Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology specialty training at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include multidisciplinary therapeutic and translational trials in pancreas and hepatobiliary cancers. Source: click here

Dr. Elizabeth M. Jaffee is an international leader in the development of immune-based therapies for pancreatic and breast cancers. In 1981, she graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University before receiving her medical degree from New York Medical College. Dr. Jaffee came to Johns Hopkins University in 1989 as Senior Clinical Oncology Fellow. In 1992, she joined the faculty as Assistant Professor of Oncology. Source

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

Toronto, Canada

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre is one of the top five cancer research centres in the world. It houses a team of internationally recognized scientists who seek to understand all aspects of cancer through research in stem cells, cell signalling, cell biology, structural biology, immunology and immunotherapy, psychosocial oncology and palliative care.

Charity Partner

Pancreatic Cancer Canada

Toronto, Canada

Pancreatic Cancer Canada is a charity that demands survival, not sympathy for Canadians experiencing this fast-acting cancer. Their mission is to raise funds for cutting-edge cancer research into early detection, more effective treatment and ultimately, a cure for pancreatic cancer. Since 2006, PCC has raised millions of dollars to support research and clinical trials like COMPASS and NeoPancONE. Now, they’re funding the most groundbreaking study yet: PASS-01.