Research

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Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University

Mazhar Adli, PhD | Validating PRMT5 inhibition as a synthetic lethal therapeutic target in pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer remains one of the deadliest cancers in the world. The 5-year survival rate of approximately 8% and it is projected to be the 2nd leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States by 2030. Most pancreatic cancer patients are asymptomatic until the disease develops to an advance state. Surgery, if possible, plus combined chemo and radiotherapy is the main mode of therapy. Gemcitabine, which is the first-line chemo and the backbone of other combinatorial therapies, does not yield desirable benefits in the management of PDA. Thus, more effective combinatorial drug targets are desperately needed.
This research study aims to test the overall hypothesis that PRMT5 is a critical regulator of genome stability and DNA damage response in pancreatic cancer cells and combinatorial PRMT5 targeting is a promising therapeutic target that generates synthetic lethality with gemcitabine in PDA.

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MD Anderson Cancer Center

Cullen Taniguchi, M.D., PhD | The Reaumond Foundation Scholar in Pancreatic Cancer Research

The Reaumond Foundation has committed $300,000 to MD Anderson over three years to establish the institution’s first pancreatic cancer scholar program. The program is designed to nurture promising early-career faculty who are advancing innovative pancreatic cancer research. Following a rigorous peer review, Cullen Taniguchi, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor of Radiation Oncology, was selected as the inaugural Reaumond Foundation Scholar. Taniguchi’s winning research proposal investigates the effects of mitochondrial fusion in suppressing pancreatic cancer.

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University of Arizona Cancer Center

Aaron J Scott, MD, Rachna Shroff, MD, Yana Zavros, PhD

The lack of an effective response of Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) to various existing treatments contributes to its poor prognosis and makes this disease an unmet medical challenge. Studies using PDAC cancer organoids demonstrate that each patient-derived tumor organoid is unique with regard to responsiveness to treatment, which may correspond to a clinical response to treatment. An organoid model that predicts the efficacy of targeted therapies in individual patients, in the presence of the patient’s immune cells, currently does not exist.

The aim of this research is to identify and characterize therapy resistant cell populations in PDAC. Tissue for the patient-derived PDAC organoid co-culture models will be harvested from patients treated on our investigator-initiated trial (IIT) entitled, “A phase II single-arm, two-stage trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of cabozantinib plus atezulizumab in patients with refractory metastatic pancreatic cancer.” This research may lead to increased efficacy of treatment for each individual patient thus improving survival and patient outcome.