Pancreatic cancer, also known as pancreatic carcinoma, is one of the most challenging cancers to treat. The American Cancer Society’s estimates for pancreatic cancer in the United States for 2023 are that about 64,050 people (33,130 men and 30,920 women) will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Of those individuals the American Cancer Society estimates that 50,550 people (26,620 men and 23,930 women) will die of pancreatic cancer. This type of cancer has a very low survival rate and is often diagnosed at a late stage, making treatment even more difficult. Early intervention and improving Pancreatic Cancer outcomes holds a special place in our heart at the Institute for Human Optimization. This week on the blog we will explore the exciting advancements in precision medicine that may change the future of pancreatic cancer treatment.

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Pancreatic cancer persists as a major health concern due to several daunting challenges associated with its diagnosis and treatment. Typically, symptoms do not manifest until the cancer has progressed significantly, often to an advanced stage. By this point, the tumor has usually metastasized to other parts of the body, complicating treatment and significantly worsening the prognosis. Further exacerbating the medical community’s struggle with this disease is its resistance to conventional treatment methods, such as chemotherapy and radiation. The tenacity of pancreatic cancer, coupled with the difficulty of early detection, underscores the urgent need for innovative approaches. This is where precision medicine comes into play, with its promise of targeted and personalized treatment strategies.

What is Precision Medicine?

Precision medicine, also known as personalized or individualized medicine, is a relatively new approach to healthcare that takes into account an individual’s unique genetic makeup, environment, and lifestyle when making treatment decisions. This contrasts with traditional “one-size-fits-all” approaches in which patients with the same disease receive similar treatments regardless of their genetic differences. Precision medicine aims to tailor treatments specifically for each patient, taking into consideration factors such as their genetics, environment, and lifestyle. In a nut shell, it is the right drug or intervention for the right patient at the right time.

What is Precision Oncology?

Precision oncology is a subset of precision medicine that focuses specifically on cancer. It involves using advanced technology such as genomic testing to analyze a patient’s tumor and identify specific genetic mutations that may be driving the cancer’s growth. These mutations can then be targeted with personalized treatments, which may include targeted therapies, immunotherapies, or combination therapies.

Knowing Your Tumor’s Genetic Profile

Traditionally, pancreatic cancer treatment has been limited to surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. With precision medicine, the goal is to identify the specific genetic mutations driving a patient’s cancer growth and tailor treatment accordingly. This can be achieved through genomic testing of a tumor sample.

Genomic testing involves analyzing the DNA of the tumor cells to look for genetic alterations or mutations. These mutations can provide valuable information about the tumor’s behavior and potential vulnerabilities. This allows doctors to create a personalized treatment plan that targets these specific mutations, potentially leading to more effective and less toxic treatments.

Organoids which are miniature versions of a patient’s tumor grown in a laboratory setting, can also be used to test potential treatments and predict their effectiveness before administering them to the patient. Organoids are fascinating tools that may revolutionize personalized medicine in the future.

Precision Medicine in Action: PARP Inhibitors

One example of precision medicine in action is the use of PARP inhibitors for pancreatic cancer patients with BRCA mutations. PARP inhibitors are a type of targeted therapy that prevents cancer cells from repairing their own DNA, leading to cell death. BRCA mutations occur in about 7% of pancreatic cancer patients and have been linked to an increased risk of developing the disease. Studies have shown that pancreatic cancer patients with BRCA mutations may respond well to treatment with PARP inhibitors, making them a promising option for personalized treatment.

GRAIL Galleri Test

Another exciting development in precision medicine is the GRAIL Galleri test, a blood test that screens for multiple types of cancer by detecting DNA fragments shed by tumors into the bloodstream. This test could potentially detect pancreatic cancer at an earlier stage when treatment is more likely to be successful. While this test is still in clinical trials, it holds great promise for improving early detection and ultimately, survival rates for pancreatic cancer patients. At the Institute for Human Optimization, we offer this Early Multi Cancer Detection test.

Full-Body MRI Scans

Full-body MRI scans becoming more accessible are another technology that could play a role in precision medicine for pancreatic cancer. These scans can detect small tumors and lesions in various organs, providing valuable information about the spread of the disease and potential treatment options. While there have been concerns on “incidentalomas” or finding unrelated findings on these scans, radiology imaging has advanced to distinguish between cancerous and non-cancerous tissues with high accuracy.

The Future of Pancreatic Cancer Treatment

Precision medicine is still in its early stages, but it holds immense promise for improving the diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer. By taking into account an individual’s unique genetic makeup and tumor profile, precision medicine allows doctors to provide more targeted and effective treatments that may improve outcomes for patients. As technology continues to advance, we can hope for more innovative approaches and breakthroughs in the fight against this devastating disease. With precision medicine at the forefront, there is renewed hope for a future where pancreatic cancer is no longer a death sentence. So let’s continue to support research and advancements in precision medicine, because every life matters.




Longevity medicine is a relatively new field of study that focuses on extending the human lifespan and promoting healthy aging. One concept that has gained attention among researchers in the field of longevity medicine is allostatic load and its impact on longevity.

What is Allostatic Load?

Allostatic load can be defined as the physiological consequences of chronic exposure to stressors. In simpler terms, it refers to the wear and tear that our bodies experience when responding to stress. Our body has a natural response to stressful situations known as the “fight or flight” response, which helps us cope with short-term stressors. However, when we are exposed to prolonged or repeated stress, it can have a detrimental effect on our health.

4 Types of Allostatic Load

There are four types of allostatic load that can affect our bodies: “Hits”, lack of adaptation, prolonged response, and inadequate response. Let’s review each type in more detail:

  1. “Hits”:

This type of allostatic load refers to the accumulated impact of repeated or chronic stressors on our bodies. These can include physical, emotional, and environmental stressors such as poor diet, lack of sleep, exposure to toxins, financial difficulties, and relationship problems. The more hits our body experiences, the higher the allostatic load.

  1. Lack of Adaptation:

When our body is exposed to stress, it responds by adapting. However, if the stress continues, our body may struggle to adapt and maintain balance or homeostasis. This results in a higher allostatic load.

  1. Prolonged Response:

Our body’s response to stress involves releasing hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones help us cope with stress but can have negative effects if they are constantly released. Prolonged exposure to these hormones can lead to an increased allostatic load.

4. Inadequate Response:

In some cases, our body may not respond effectively to stressors, leading to a low allostatic load. This can be due to factors such as genetics, lifestyle choices, and overall health.

Impact of Allostatic Load on Longevity

Research has shown that chronic exposure to stress and high levels of allostatic load can contribute to the development of various age-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and neurological disorders. This is because the constant activation of our body’s stress response can lead to inflammation, hormonal imbalances, and other negative physiological changes. Chronic stress induced allostasis is the gateway to systemic inflammation. Inflammation , if not resolved in a timely fashion, threatens the viability of organs and tissues. This can ultimately impact our overall health and reduce our lifespan.

Moreover, high allostatic load has been linked to accelerated aging, as it can cause damage and dysfunction at the cellular level. Our cells have limited ability to repair themselves, and constant exposure to stressors can lead to faster cell deterioration and aging.

Managing Allostatic Load for Longevity

With the understanding of allostatic load and its impact on longevity, researchers are now exploring ways to manage it in order to promote healthy aging and extend lifespan. Some strategies that have shown promise include stress management techniques such as meditation, regular exercise, and a healthy diet. Additionally, maintaining strong social connections and engaging in meaningful activities can also help reduce the effects of allostatic load.

Biohacking Allostatic Load

Another approach gaining popularity in the field of longevity medicine is biohacking, which involves using technology and lifestyle changes to optimize our healthspan. Some biohacks that can help manage allostatic load include using wearable devices to track stress levels and implementing targeted supplementation to support the body’s stress response. For example, an Oura Ring can track physiological markers such as heart rate variability and sleep quality, providing valuable insights into an individual’s stress levels. Modalities such as a cold plunge or cryotherapy have been shown to activate the body’s natural response to stress. Red Light Therapy , PEMF, and infrared saunas are being studied as to the potential for mitigating stress through various mechanisms. Though more research is needed in these areas, biohacking allostatic load shows promising potential in promoting longevity.

Additionally, supplements like adaptogens and antioxidants have shown potential in reducing the negative effects of chronic stress on our body. Rapamyacin , a prescription drug used to prevent organ transplant rejection, is also being studied for its potential use in promoting healthy aging and reducing allostatic load.


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At the Institute for Human Optimization, we are a Maryland based Longevity Medicine practice that partners with you to become your health intelligence partner with the goal of optimizing your health. We accomplish this with our signature precision medicine approach. Our providers use a combination of therapies that are tailored to your specific needs with a health optimization goal. We believe that our Medical Team should make use of the latest scientific research to offer our patients personalized medicine, based on real data. We call this precision health and it is the future of healthcare.

Our focus is not only looking at the root cause, but also to measure, quantify and optimize the patient’s personal health. We take a preventative approach, personalized, and precise approach in helping our patients control their risk factors early on in order to avoid chronic illness down the road. Our team of medical providers use a comprehensive approach with every patient that comes into our office, looking at all aspects of health including lifestyle, environment and genetics. There are no generic one size fit all protocols. No two patients receive the same treatment plan since we work with each individual to create a personalized plan. We empower our patients with the right tools and information, so they can take control of their own health. This is the future of longevity! Our Medical Team is led by a

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