A Simple Blood Test for Pancreatic Function


Patients with cystic fibrosis, cancer, and pancreatitis


Market Need


Many disorders, such as cystic fibrosis, pancreatic cancer, pancreatitis, Schwachman syndrome, and hyperparathyroidism, cause abnormal pancreas function. As a result, fatty acids and triglycerides are not properly absorbed into the bloodstream by the pancreas. Treatments for these disorders, ranging from enzymatic supplements to major, invasive surgery, require proper monitoring of pancreatic function during and after treatment to ensure the treatment was successful.


Technology Overview


Dr. Virginia Stallings and her team developed a process that can accurately assess pancreatic function by measuring the absorption of odd-numbered fatty acid carbon chains into the bloodstream.



•       The procedure for conducting the test is similar to that of glucose tolerance testing and requires only mild fasting and two blood draws. Other tests currently               representing the standard of care include the invasive endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, and a test that requires the patient to collect stool samples, which is inconvenient and associated with low-compliance.

•       Unlike other tests, this procedure does not use radio labeled fatty acids.

•       Generates results in a shorter time compared to the current standard of care.


•       This technology can be easily packaged into a diagnostic test for measuring relative pancreas function. Such a test could be marketed to clinics and hospitals in kit form or developed for in-house use by an independent testing company.


Stage of Development: This test has been used to monitor pancreatic function in clinical trials of drugs being tested for the treatment of cystic fibrosis.


Case ID:
Web Published:
Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Camille Jolly-Tornetta
Assistant Director
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Virginia Stallings
Pancreatic Function