Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month
November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, and we are recognizing the month by highlighting our researchers and their discoveries in the pancreatic cancer field.
Pancreatic cancer is the deadliest of all cancers and there is no effective treatment. Success in improving the outcome for pancreatic cancer patients requires an understanding of aggressive tumor biology, early detection and identification of effective novel therapeutic targets. Here are some investigators at the Center for Cancer Research, both in the basic and clinical disciplines, who are working on pancreatic cancer:
Perwez Hussain, Ph.D., is an Investigator in the Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis. He works on translational research that can then be brought into clinical trials. Most patients are not diagnosed until the cancer has metastasized, so new therapeutic targets are vital. Dr. Hussain and his team recently discovered that Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor (MIF), a proinflammatory cytokine found in cancer and cancer-related diseases, plays a large role in pancreatic cancer aggressiveness and negative patient outcomes. This discovery may mean that treatments targeting MIF could lead to improved outcomes in pancreatic cancer. Dr. Hussain has been a leader of NCI’s Pancreatic Interest Group and the annual Pancreatic Cancer Symposium, which has brought together experts to discuss recent advances and challenges to improving the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of this disease.
Christine Alewine, M.D., Ph.D., is an Investigator in the Laboratory of Molecular Biology and NIH Lasker Scholar. She focuses on the use of immunotoxin therapeutics in pancreatic cancer. Her laboratory research focuses on identifying effective combination therapies that can enhance the activity of immunotoxins. She is currently leading a clinical trial testing the combination of LMB-100, a drug developed in CCR by the Pastan Lab that is designed to kill cancer cells, and nab-paclitaxel, a drug used to treat pancreatic cancer. The goal is to discover how well the combination of the two drugs works to reduce tumor size.
Tim Greten, M.D., a Senior Investigator in the Thoracic and Gastrointestinal Oncology Branch, focuses on the effect of tumor development and tumor-specific treatment on immune response in cancer patients. He focuses on liver cancer and is trying to discover how successful liver cancer treatments might be successfully translated in pancreatic cancer patients.
Jonathan Hernandez, M.D., is an Investigator and surgical oncologist in the Thoracic and Gastrointestinal Oncology Branch, who specializes in the treatment of pancreatic, liver and bile duct tumors. His research program focuses on discovering the molecular underpinnings of how cancer metastasizes. This is a critical need in biomedical research as metastases are the cause of more than 90% of cancer-related deaths.
See our open pancreatic cancer clinical trials here.