The UCLA Center for Excellence in Pancreatic Diseases was created in 2006 in response to NCCAM RFA by a group of independent investigators from UCLA, LA BioMed Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, and VA Greater for Los Angeles Healthcare System who has been collaborating over the last decade. With the NIH funding the Center in September 30, 2007, the collaboration continued and enhanced.

Over the last 30 years, UCLA investigators have contributed significantly to the body of knowledge on the physiology of pancreatic secretion regulation generated at the UCLA Center for Ulcer Research and Education (CURE) under the leadership of Dr.’s Morton Grossman, John Walsh, Travis Soloman, and Howard Reber. Dr. Reber investigated the peptidergic innervation of the pancreas and the role of ischemia and infection in pancreatitis. His work complements the human pancreatic secretion in health and disease, carried out by Dr. Vay Liang W. Go’s research laboratory in Mayo Clinic. Here are some highlights:

  • With recruitment of Dr. Go in 1988, Dr. Yvette Tache, Hong Yang, and Dr. Go focused their research on the brain-gut-pancreas interaction in normal and diseased states.
  • In 1996, the establishment of the Center for Human Nutrition, and subsequent funding from NCCAM Center for Dietary Supplement Research: Botanicals allowed the development of the state-of-the-art analytical phytochemical core, which began our focus on botanical research as well as housing our Phytonutrient Core under Dr. Qing-Yi Lu. The NCI Clinical Nutrition Research Unit supported the establishment of the Stable Isotope Research Laboratory at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center under Dr. Paul Lee, which houses our Metabolomics Core.
  • In 1998, the Ronald S. Hirshberg Laboratory for translational research in pancreatic cancer was established in the MacDonald Research Laboratory building under the directorship of Dr. Howard Reber. This laboratory has become part of the Animal Model Core of our Center and houses the research program of Dr.’s Guido Eibl, Joe Hines and Howard Reber.
  • In 1999, USC-UCLA Research Center for Alcoholic Liver and Pancreatic Injury was funded by NIH/NIAAA. Dr. Stephen Pandol was co-director for pancreatic program, and is now Co-Principal Investigator of the Center and Project I. The pancreatic research growth under Dr.’s Pandol and Anna Gukovskaya is housed at the VA Greater for Los Angeles Healthcare System-West Los Angeles.
  • In 2000, the Ronald S. Hirshberg Chair in Pancreatic Research was established, and Dr. Enrique Rozengurt was recruited to UCLA. He is the international expert on signal transduction pathways.
  • The establishment of the UCLA Collaborative Centers for Integrative Medicine. This is a comprehensive interdepartmental program, dedicated to the practice, research, and education of CAM. Our Center grant is a part of this interdepartmental program at UCLA.
  • In 2007, the UCLA Center for Pancreatic Diseases was established under the directorship of Dr. Howard Reber. The Dean of the Medical School has provided resources to recruit new faculty in surgery, digestive diseases, medical oncology to form this multidisciplinary center comprised of 17 faculty members provided an integrated clinical facility for our translational research.
  • In 2011, the UCLA Center for Excellence in Pancreatic Diseases became the research arm of the UCLA Center for Pancreatic Diseases and changed its name to the UCLA Center for Excellence in Pancreatic Diseases Research.
  • In 2012, the Center (AT003960) Competing Renewal to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) was submitted on Sept. 12 with reorganization and expansion of the research projects to include role phytonutrients in diabetes mellitus in addition to pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.