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  • Pancreas and Biliary Tumor Center

    Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Care

    At the Pancreas and Biliary Tumor Center of Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center (DF/BWCC), our mission is to combine world-class patient care with leading-edge research – to provide highly effective, personalized treatment options for patients with pancreatic and biliary disease. Our experienced and compassionate team of providers uses the most advanced diagnostics and state-of-the-art science to understand each patient's tumor at the molecular level. And our robust clinical trial portfolio gives our patients access to the latest and most sophisticated therapies tailored to their tumor.

    About the Pancreas and Biliary Tumor Center

    Thomas Clancy, MD, Brian Wolpin, MD, and Richard Swanson, MD

    The Pancreas and Biliary Tumor Center brings together the resources and focus of patient caregivers and scientists at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center, with the goal of advancing research and treatment of pancreatic and biliary tract diseases.

    Our nationally-recognized clinicians and scientists are advancing the understanding of pancreatic and biliary diseases – leading to new approaches for diagnosis and treatment. The uniquely collaborative and patient-centered environment at the Pancreas and Biliary Tumor Center provides the most sophisticated and compassionate care possible for every patient who comes for diagnosis or treatment.

    The Center's renowned clinical team provides timely, compassionate, and comprehensive multidisciplinary care across the full spectrum of cancer services, including:

    • Advanced diagnostic procedures
    • Evaluation of cystic lesions
    • Pathologic and molecular testing of tumor specimens
    • Complex surgical procedures
    • Radiation therapy (including radiosurgery techniques)
    • Chemotherapy
    • Leading-edge clinical trials
    • Nutrition and palliative care consultations
    • Genetic testing and counseling for families with a cancer history

    Our expertise makes us a resource

    At the Pancreas and Biliary Tumor Center, clinicians and researchers are working every day to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of pancreatic and biliary tumors.

    Our Center:

    • Provides second-opinion consultations and guidance to colleagues throughout the country and the world.
    • Enables patients to learn about, and enroll in, clinical trials testing the latest approaches to diagnosis and treatment.
    • Educates patients and practitioners about the management of pancreatic and biliary tumors, including both benign diseases and cancerous tumors. We host evening patient education sessions, as well as regular educational conferences for the medical community.
    • Trains future leaders in all facets of pancreaticobiliary disease.
    • Functions as a home and collaborative hub for research studies on pancreaticobiliary cancer.
    • Coordinates activities and events to raise awareness about pancreaticobiliary cancer and facilitate fund-raising opportunities to support critical research efforts.
    • Provides a model for patient-centered care built on the foundation of cutting-edge research.

    Learn about how we diagnose and treat pancreatic cancer and pancreatic cysts.

    Learn about how we diagnose and treat biliary cancer (bile duct and gallbladder) and biliary cysts.

    In this video, Thomas E. Clancy, MD, FACS, Surgical Oncology, and Brian M. Wolpin, MD, Medical Oncology, explain the mission of the Pancreas and Biliary Tumor Center and treatment approaches that are used.

     

    Read the Pancreas and Biliary Tumor Center video transcript.

    Treatment Approach

    Our multidisciplinary team

    Sapna Syngal, MD, MPH, consults with a patient

    Patients come to the Pancreas and Biliary Tumor Center from around the world to be cared for by our highly specialized team. Our experts treat pancreaticobiliary cancer exclusively – so we understand and focus on the distinct needs of these patients. Some patients remain at the Center for ongoing treatments; others take our recommendations back to their referring physician, who works together with our team.

    Our clinician/scientists have extensive experience across the full spectrum of pancreatic and biliary diseases, from premalignant cysts to advanced malignancy. We have treated thousands of patients; our radiologists, pathologists, endoscopy specialists, palliative care physicians, medical oncologists, surgeons, and radiation oncologists have decades of experience working as a team in caring for patients with pancreatic and biliary tumors and cysts.

    This extensive experience and collaborative environment result in highly coordinated, streamlined care for patients. Our doctors are in constant communication with each other, during Pancreas and Biliary Tumor Center conferences, multidisciplinary clinic sessions, and research meetings. Our doctors also communicate effectively with our patients, keeping them informed and involved in a patient-centered model of care.

    Quality is associated with experience: Studies show that higher surgical volume correlates with better patient outcomes. We perform hundreds of pancreatic and biliary cancer surgeries per year, including the Whipple procedure and new complex surgeries to remove tumors in patients who had not previously been candidates for surgery.

    Collaborative model of care

    Our innovative approach is reflected in our collaborative, multidisciplinary model of patient care. We hold daily multidisciplinary clinics, in which specialists from radiology, medical oncology, pancreaticobiliary surgery, and radiation oncology evaluate new patients together, reviewing treatment plans collaboratively in real time.

    This approach spares our patients multiple clinic visits to see different specialists, improves communication between members of the patient's care team, and allows the most rapid possible determination of next steps for evaluation and treatment. Patients receive one unified recommendation and can be certain that all their doctors are in agreement regarding their care.

    Our team-based approach typically involves input from our pathologists, gastroenterologists, palliative care doctors, nutritionists, and social workers. Together, we provide a comprehensive management plan for each patient, leveraging the comprehensive resources of one of the largest cancer centers in the United States.

    Compassionate care and support

    We consider each patient's quality of life to be our top priority as we aggressively treat their cancer. Our medical, nursing, and support staff have a passion for caring for patients with pancreatic and biliary cancer, and we help each person through a medically and emotionally challenging time. We take the time to form one-on-one relationships with our patients and get to know them and their loved ones.

    We offer support programs and resources that help patients and families, including nutrition counseling, complementary therapies such as massage and acupuncture, and support groups led by our social workers.

       

    Our Specialists

    Our specialists: pioneering new paths to treatment

    Pancreatic and biliary cancers are challenging diseases. At the Pancreas and Biliary Tumor Center, our specialists are making breakthrough discoveries in every discipline:

    • Our medical oncologists are improving the use of chemotherapy and targeted agents through clinical trials and new treatment approaches, such as with therapies that harness the immune system to fight the cancer.
    • Our surgeons offer the full range of advanced pancreatic surgery, and are pioneering the newest surgical approaches, including laparoscopic and robotic surgeries, and operations to remove larger tumors that more intimately involve surrounding blood vessels.
    • Our radiologists are pioneering the use of imaging tests to allow optimal diagnosis and treatment of patients with pancreaticobiliary tumors or cysts.
    • Our gastroenterologists are identifying new ways to distinguish benign cysts from early cancers and devising new ways to screen for pancreatic cancer in high-risk families.
    • Our pathologists work closely with surgeons and endoscopists to evaluate tissue samples in real-time, leading to faster, more accurate diagnoses.
    • Our radiation oncologists are discovering better combinations of radiation and systemic therapies, including newer targeted agents. They are pioneering stereotactic radiation therapy to treat localized tumors with less damage to surrounding tissues.
    • Our endoscopists are using innovative advanced endoscopic techniques to evaluate tumors and to relieve obstructions through placement of biliary stents.
    • Our scientists are working to understand the fundamental biology of these cancers to identify new ways to prevent and treat these diseases in our patients.

    Meet our leaders

    Thomas E. Clancy, MD

    Thomas E. Clancy, MD, is a surgical oncologist specializing in pancreaticobiliary and liver surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and is Co-Director of the Pancreas and Biliary Tumor Center. He obtained his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, followed by both general surgical residency and surgical oncology fellowships at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

    Dr. Clancy's clinical focus is the treatment of gastrointestinal malignancies, specifically pancreatic, biliary, and liver tumors. A high-volume clinical surgical oncologist, Dr. Clancy has been a leader in the development and adoption of minimally invasive techniques including robotic pancreatectomy, and is the surgical director of the BWH Interdisciplinary Pancreatic Cystic Tumor (IMPACT) clinic focusing on collaborative multidisciplinary management of patients with cystic pancreatic neoplasms. In addition, he is the director of the BWH program in Total Pancreatectomy with Islet Cell Autotransplantation for management of patients with refractory chronic pancreatitis.


    Joseph Mancias, MD, PhD

    Joseph Mancias, MD, PhD, is a radiation oncologist in the Gastrointestinal Oncology disease center of Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center. Dr. Mancias specializes in the care of patients with gastrointestinal cancers and runs an independent laboratory at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute that focuses on the biology of pancreatic cancer.

    Dr. Mancias received his medical and graduate degrees as part of the Weill Cornell/Rockefeller/Sloan Kettering Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program, earning a PhD degree from the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences and an MD from Weill Cornell Medical College. He completed an internship in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, followed by a residency in Radiation Oncology in the Harvard Radiation Oncology Program (HROP). He subsequently completed a research fellowship in Pancreatic Cancer Biology at Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.


    Brian M. Wolpin, MD, MPH

    Brian M. Wolpin, MD, MPH, is a medical oncologist and translational cancer researcher at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, and is Co-Director of the Pancreas and Biliary Tumor Center. Dr. Wolpin obtained his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and Master of Public Health Degree from Harvard School of Public Health. He completed a residency in internal medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and a medical oncology fellowship at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

    Dr. Wolpin's clinical practice involves the medical oncology care of patients with gastrointestinal cancers, with a focus on pancreatic and biliary cancer. He is dedicated to the quality of life of his patients, while assisting them in finding the most effective and tolerable therapies to treat their cancer. He has published articles and run multiple clinical trials testing new therapies for patients with pancreatic cancer, including therapies identified by researchers at DF/BWCC. He also leads a translational research program dedicated to understanding new approaches to the early diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer.

    See the complete list of our pancreatic and biliary cancer specialists.

    Our Research

    Charles Fuchs, MD, Kimmie Ng, MD, and Brian Wolpin, MD

    Research and innovation

    Our experts in each specialty are leaders in their respective fields, regularly publishing their discoveries about underlying disease mechanisms, surgical and radiation techniques, new therapies, and approaches to early detection.

    We study the biology of these diseases, learning how a tumor develops, what sustains its growth, and how to halt that growth. This extensive work to understand the biology of pancreaticobiliary cancer then translates into new approaches to diagnose, treat, and prevent these diseases. Our patients have extensive opportunities to participate in these research studies, including clinical trials of new treatments.

    Our specialists at work

    Thomas Abrams, MD

    Medical oncologist Thomas Abrams, MD, focuses on understanding optimal treatment strategies for patients with pancreatic and biliary cancer. As part of this work, he is conducting an ongoing analysis of a large patient database from around the United States, to fully understand which chemotherapies patients with pancreatic cancer currently receive, and the implications for how we can improve patient care. This work was presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting in Chicago, Ill.

    Andrew Aguirre, MD, PhD

    Andrew Aguirre, MD, PhD, is a medical oncologist researching what factors cooperate with KRAS to promote pancreatic cancer growth. The goal of this work is to identify new strategies to treat pancreatic cancer in the Clinic. See a description of a project conducted by Dr. Aguirre that was awarded a Samuel Stroum Pancreatic Cancer Action Network/AACR Fellowship. Dr. Aguirre is also a recipient of a Conquer Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award.

    Stanley W. Ashley, MD

    Stanley W. Ashley, MD, is Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs at Brigham and Women's Hospital, as well as the Frank Sawyer Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School.

    Dr. Ashley is a gastrointestinal surgeon whose primary interests are diseases of the pancreas and inflammatory bowel disease. His research, which has been funded by both the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Institutes of Health, has examined the pathophysiology of the pancreas and small bowel. His clinical research has examined both necrotizing pancreatitis and pancreatic neoplasia. His focus recently is on practical aspects of surgical quality and value and how these can be applied to improve outcomes. Dr. Ashley is the author of over 300 publications.

    Peter Banks, MD

    Gastroenterologist Peter Banks, MD, is a leading authority on the management and consequences of acute and chronic pancreatitis, including their impact on the development of pancreatic cysts and cancer. He has written extensively on these topics, with more than 200 published papers. See his recent reviews of acute pancreatitis published in Gastroenterology and Gut.

    Ying Bao, PhD

    Ying Bao, PhD, is an epidemiologist who studies the influence of diet and lifestyle factors on the risk of pancreatic cancer. Read about her research examining the impact of nut consumption (British Journal of Cancer) and the circulating hormone adiponectin (Journal of the National Cancer Institute) on the development of pancreatic cancer in large patient populations. Dr. Bao continues to use the tools of population science to understand why some individuals develop pancreatic cancer, while others do not.

    David Barbie, MD

    Medical oncologist David Barbie, MD, is working in the laboratory to identify new targets for cancer therapy, with a specific focus on targeting KRAS mutations that are present in the vast majority of pancreatic and biliary cancers. This mutation has made pancreas and biliary cancer cells resistant to many therapies, and Dr. Barbie's work has identified a new vulnerability of these cells to specific targeted treatments. He has recently published some of this work in the prestigious journal, Cancer Discovery. Together with DF/BWCC medical oncologist Kimmie Ng, MD, MPH, he is now directly applying these findings to the care of our patients by designing clinical trials that include targeted drugs which attack this newly identified vulnerability. Also see Dr. Barbie's recent overview of new approaches to targeting KRAS-mutant tumors in Expert Review of Anticancer Therapy.

    Jennifer Chan, MD, MPH

    Jennifer Chan, MD, MPH, is a medical oncologist, with a clinical and research focus on pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. She leads numerous trials specifically for patients with pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, and has published extensively on novel therapeutic approaches for this disease. See her recent papers describing these new treatment approaches published in Cancer and the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

    Thomas E. Clancy, MD

    Oncologist and Center Co-Director Thomas E. Clancy, MD, has worked as an investigator and collaborator on numerous translational and clinical research projects in pancreaticobiliary disease focusing on novel biomarkers in pancreatic cancer and surgical outcomes. His work has demonstrated the safety of multi-organ resection in the context of pancreatic surgery. He has published numerous book chapters on pancreatic cancer, hepatobiliary diseases, and pancreatic disease.

    James Cleary, MD, PhD

    James Cleary, MD, PhD, is a medical oncologist who leads the treatment of patients with gastrointestinal cancers in the Early Drug Development Center at DF/BWCC. He is leading multiple early-stage clinical trials using experimental drugs to identify new ways to treat pancreatic and biliary cancers. See a recent clinical trial published by Dr. Cleary in Investigational New Drugs, adding a new targeted agent to gemcitabine, a chemotherapy commonly used for patients with pancreatic and biliary cancer.

    Wolfram Goessling, MD, PhD

    Wolfram Goessling, MD, PhD, is a medical oncologist who studies organ growth and regeneration in the laboratory, with a focus on how these factors are involved in cancer development. His paper in Developmental Cell examines how abnormalities that occur in the formation of the pancreas might impact the development of cancer. He also has ongoing projects directed toward understanding the genetic factors that promote normal pancreas cells to become cancerous.

    Kunal Jajoo, MD

    Kunal Jajoo, MD, is a gastroenterologist specializing in advanced endoscopic procedures. Dr. Jajoo's clinical expertise is in advanced procedures that include endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), enteral stenting, and other therapeutic endoscopic procedures. His major responsibilities and contributions focus on excellent patient care in advanced therapeutic endoscopy and post-graduate education and mentorship of gastroenterology fellows. Dr. Jajoo has been named to the Endoscopy Leadership Committee and the Endoscopy Steering Committee to develop patient policies and procedures related to advanced endoscopic procedures and to improve quality measures in general endoscopy.

    Matthew Kulke, MD, MMSc

    Medical oncologist Matthew Kulke, MD, MMSc, is an internationally recognized expert in neuroendocrine tumors of the pancreas. He is Director of the Program in Neuroendocrine and Carcinoid Tumors at DF/BWCC, and serves as Chair of the National Cancer Institute's Neuroendocrine Tumor Task Force. He has led numerous clinical and translational studies involving patients with neuroendocrine tumors of the pancreas. He has written extensively on these topics, with recent research publications in Nature Genetics and the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Also see his recent reviews of therapies for pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors published in The Oncologist and Seminars in Oncology.

    Linda Lee, MD

    Gastroenterologist Linda Lee, MD, is an expert in advanced endoscopy techniques for diagnosis and management of pancreaticobiliary tumors. Her research interest is focused on the evaluation and treatment of pancreatic cystic lesions. See her recent review articles on advanced endoscopy techniques published in Radiologic Clinics of North America, and on the management of pancreaticobiliary cystic lesions published in Gastroenterology Research and Practice.

    Harvey Mamon, MD, PhD

    Radiation oncologist Harvey Mamon, MD, PhD, is the clinical director of radiation oncology at the Gastrointestinal Cancer Treatment Center and spearheads research activities focused on optimizing the combination of radiation with systemic therapies. He has identified biomarkers for the response to treatment and has run several large national trials involving patients with pancreatic and biliary cancer, including CALGB 80003, published in Cancer.

    Joseph Mancias, MD, PhD

    The research of Joseph Mancias, MD, PhD, focuses on critical aspects of the biology of pancreatic cancer, including selective autophagy, iron metabolism, and therapeutic resistance in order to develop novel therapeutic approaches. His lab takes a comprehensive approach combining biochemical, quantitative mass spectrometry-based proteomic, gene editing, cell biological, and advanced modeling techniques to further our understanding of pancreatic cancer.

    Mandar Muzumdar, MD

    Mandar Muzumdar, MD, is a medical oncologist studying factors in the laboratory that enhance pancreatic cancer growth. See a recent talk by Dr. Muzumdar highlighting the opportunities and challenges of research in pancreatic cancer. Dr. Muzumdar is a recipient of a Conquer Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award.

    Sahar Nissim, MD, PhD

    Sahar Nissim, MD, PhD, is a gastroenterologist and member of the Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention, with expertise in hereditary cancer syndromes. Dr. Nissim conducts research on pancreas development and pancreatic cancer. A major goal of his research is to identify and characterize new genes responsible for familial pancreatic cancer, discoveries that could be used for earlier diagnosis and new treatment strategies in pancreatic cancer. His paper in Developmental Cell identified a role for prostaglandins in pancreas organ formation that may also impact pancreatic cancer. Dr. Nissim's work has been funded by the National Pancreas Foundation. He recently received a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award for Medical Scientists for his research.

    Nikhil Ramayia, MD

    Radiologist Nikhil Ramayia, MD, has expertise in the radiologic diagnosis of pancreaticobiliary cancer, including with ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and positron emission tomography (PET). He has published numerous papers evaluating imaging characteristics of pancreatic and biliary tumors and how doctors can leverage these characteristics to improve diagnosis and measures of treatment efficacy.

    Michael Rosenthal, MD, PhD

    Michael Rosenthal, MD, PhD, is a diagnostic radiologist with expertise in the complex imaging studies necessary for accurate diagnosis and staging of pancreaticobiliary cancer. He studies ways to develop and validate prognostic models that use cancer imaging findings and related clinical data to estimate individual patient outcomes. 

    Douglas Rubinson, MD, PhD

    Douglas Rubinson, MD, PhD, is a medical oncologist leading an effort to genetically profile pancreatic cancers and understand how genetic alterations impact cancer recurrence and progression. He is doing this work in collaboration with scientists in the Center for Cancer Genome Discovery at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The goal of these studies is to achieve a truly personalized approach to pancreatic cancer treatment based upon the genetic profile of a patient's tumor. Also see a recent paper in The Oncologist, co-authored by Dr. Rubinson and showing the first clinical trial of autophagy inhibition in patients with pancreatic cancer. This is a new treatment strategy based upon ongoing studies in Alec Kimmelman, MD, PhD's laboratory at DF/BWCC.

    Ramesh Shivdasani, MD, PhD

    Medical oncologist and laboratory investigator Ramesh Shivdasani, MD, PhD, studies cell differentiation in the gastrointestinal tract and new targets for treatment of gastrointestinal tumors. His recent study published in Oncogene implicates high expression of GATA6 in malignant behavior of stomach and pancreatic cancers. His ongoing work continues to define how this and other transcription factors promote tumorigenesis and malignant growth of gastrointestinal cancers.

    Paul Shyn, MD

    Paul Shyn, MD, is a diagnostic radiologist specializing in abdominal imaging and related interventional radiology procedures. His clinical and research interests include medical imaging of gastrointestinal cancers, as well as advanced image-guide biopsy and tumor ablation procedures. Dr. Shyn teaches and publishes on the use of imaging technologies ranging from ultrasound and CT to MRI and PET/CT in the performance of interventional radiology procedures.

    Sapna Syngal, MD, MPH

    Gastroenterologist Sapna Syngal, MD, MPH, is director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Genetics and Prevention Clinic at the Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention, and an international expert in familial syndromes of pancreatic cancer. Her research focuses on genetic testing and screening approaches to diagnose pancreaticobiliary cancer early in families at high risk for these diseases. She is DF/BWHCC investigator for the CAPS5 Cancer of the Pancreas Screening Consortium study, a national study directed toward defining the optimal screening strategies for pancreatic cancer-prone families. Read her study on Risk of Pancreatic Cancer in Families with Lynch Syndrome, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Also see her review article published in Gastroenterology describing important issues in hereditary pancreatic cancer.

    Brian M. Wolpin, MD, MPH

    The research program of medical oncologist and Center Co-Director Brian M. Wolpin, MD, MPH, focuses on understanding the factors that promote the development and growth of pancreatic and biliary cancer. His studies involve large-scale analyses of samples donated by hundreds to thousands of patients, with evaluation of factors in blood, inherited DNA changes, and DNA changes in tumors. The goal of his group's work is to define new ways to diagnose pancreaticobiliary tumors early, and to treat them more effectively by targeting specific changes in individual tumors.

    Dr. Wolpin's research has been funded by the National Cancer Institute, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Lustgarten Foundation, the ASCO Conquer Cancer Foundation, Promises for Purple, and the U.S. Department of Defense. His work has been published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Gastroenterology, Nature Genetics, Nature Medicine, and the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Wolpin serves as Principal Investigator for the Pancreatic Cancer Cohort Consortium, a National Cancer Institute consortium of more than 30 studies from around the world dedicated to understanding the causes of pancreatic cancer. He also directs a large pancreatic cancer specimen bank, which archives and analyzes blood and tumor specimens from patients at DF/BWCC and other institutions around the United States.

    Dr. Wolpin serves on the Alliance/CALGB Gastrointestinal Cancer Committee, which sets national clinical trial priorities for pancreatic and biliary cancer. In addition, he serves on the NCCN Guidelines Committee for Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma, which sets guidelines used around the world for the standard treatment of patients with pancreatic cancer.

    Matt Yurgelun, MD

    Matt Yurgelun, MD, is a medical oncologist and member of the Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention, with expertise in pancreatic cancer. He studies hereditary cancer syndromes, including Lynch syndrome. His recently published journal article Therapy-Associated Polyposis as a Late Sequela of Cancer Treatment shows that survivors of childhood cancers are at increased risk of developing secondary gastrointestinal cancers.

    Contact Us

    To learn more, or to request an appointment, call us at 877-442-3324 (877-442-DFCI) or 617-632-3476, or complete the online form.

    You may schedule your first appointment for as soon as the next day. After scheduling, one of our nurses will call you to answer your questions and help you prepare for the appointment.

    Mailing address

    Pancreas and Biliary Tumor Center
    Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    450 Brookline Avenue
    Boston, MA 02215

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