Dr. Vikas DudejaDirector of the Division of Surgical Oncology Vikas Dudeja, MBBS, was awarded a U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity (USAMRAA) grant, which will fund his research project, “Evaluation of Pirfenidone as a Therapy in Patients with Predicted Moderate to Severe Acute Pancreatitis.”

Earlier this year, Dudeja was awarded a similar grant to study another potential treatment for pancreatitis, “Evaluation of NADPH Oxidase 1/4 Inhibition as a Novel Therapeutic Strategy Against Chronic Pancreatitis.”

According to Dudeja, pancreatitis is an inflammatory disease of the pancreas which results in significant morbidity, mortality, and hospitalizations. In U.S., over 300,000 patients are admitted each year with pancreatitis and more than $2 billion is spent on their care.

Dudeja’s funded research will evaluate the safety and tolerability of pirfenidone in patients with predicted moderate to severe acute pancreatitis. Pirfenidone is a drug currently used to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which is a serious lung disease.

Dudeja believes that the anti-inflammatory characteristics of the drug will prove useful in treating pancreatitis. In fact, his lab hypothesizes that pirfenidone treatment will decrease the severity of AP and development of local complications in these patients, thereby reducing mortality and morbidity of the disease.

“We are excited at the potential of this drug as a treatment for moderately-severe or severe acute pancreatitis,” said Dudeja. “Preliminary studies have proved effective, so we look forward to investigating all aspects of this treatment to ensure its safety and effectiveness for patients with acute pancreatitis.”