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Clinical Studies

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  • A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Double Wire Technique With or Without Transpancreatic Sphincterotomy for Difficult Common Bile Duct Cannulation Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz.

    Endoscopic cholangiography is a procedure which is performed to image the bile duct and perform therapy like removal of bile duct stones. It is currently standard of care to remove stones from the bile duct when found as they frequently cause complications like infections which can sometime be life threatening. Therapy on the biliary tree, like for example stone removal, frequently requires inserting tools through the opening of the duct and cutting of the muscle which control the secretion of juices from the liver. Cutting the muscle helps with securing an easy access to the bile duct. It also helps facilitating dragging the stones out. On certain occasions placing a wire in the bile duct fails and instead the wire keeps entering the pancreatic duct whose opening is adjacent to the bile duct opening. There is evidence to suggest that keeping a wire in the pancreatic duct facilitates placing a second wire in the bile duct possibly because it straightens the duct. On certain occasions this also fails and we resort to cutting the muscle of the pancreas and the bile duct simultaneously to facilitate the access to the bile duct.

    The more attempts to enter the bile duct the higher the risk of inflammation in the pancreas known as pancreatitis. This makes decreasing the number of attempts at placing the wire in the duct desirable. One way to facilitate placement of the wire in the bile duct is to cut starting from the opening of the pancreas duct aiming toward the bile duct muscle. This often cuts the bile duct sphincter and exposes the bile duct opening. The study is trying to answer if cutting the bile duct sphincter muscle in the direction of the bile duct immediately after a wire has entered the pancreatic duct will make it easier to place the wire in the bile duct as compared to trying to place the wire in the bile duct without cutting the opening. While cutting the muscle can increase the risk of pancreatitis, repeated attempts at accessing the bile duct can also increase the risk of pancreatitis. So if cutting the pancreatic muscle will facilitate entry to the bile duct and decrease the number of attempts at entering the bile duct, then it might be a better way to approach the patient whom we had difficulty in entering the bile duct.

  • Evaluation of the Diagnostic Potential of a Lateral Flow Assay to Detect QSOX1 Peptide in Patients With or At Risk for Pancreatic Cancer Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz.

    The purpose of this study is to evaluate the lateral flow assay (LFA) to be used in conjunction with imaging and existing biomarkers in diagnosed or at-risk-for pancreatic cancer patients.

  • Multicenter, Open-label, Randomized, Controlled Phase III Clinical Study of the Efficacy and Safety of Photodynamic Therapy Using Porfimer Sodium for Injection as Treatment for Unresectable Advanced Perihilar Cholangiocarcinoma Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz.

    Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a combination of a drug, porfimer sodium (Photofrin), which is activated by a light from a laser that emits no heat. This technique works to allow the medical doctor to specifically target and destroy abnormal or cancer cells while limiting damage to surrounding healthy tissue. The activation of the drug is done by lighting the abnormal areas using a fiber optic device (very fine fiber like a fishing line that permits light transmission) inserted into a flexible tube with a light called cholangioscope for the bile duct. The light will activate the porfimer sodium concentrated in the abnormal tissue, leading to its destruction.

    This research study will evaluate the efficacy and safety of PDT with porfimer sodium administered with Standard Medical Care (SMC) compared to SMC alone on the overall survival time of patients with non-operable advanced cholangiocarcinoma, a rare cancer of the bile ducts. It will involve 200 patients across North America and Europe. Other countries may participate if needed. Participation will last at least 18 months.