Pancreatic Cancer Research

pancreatic cancer cells

Pancreatic Cancer Cells
Image credit: NCI Visuals Online

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:

S. Perwez Hussain, Ph.D.Perwez Hussain, Ph.D., is a Senior 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.

Christine Campo Alewine, M.D., Ph.D.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 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 F. Greten, M.D.Tim Greten, M.D., a Senior Investigator in the Thoracic and GI Malignancies 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. 


Efsun Arda, Ph.D.H. Efsun Arda, Ph.D., Investigator in the Laboratory of Receptor Biology and Gene Expression, spearheaded the development of genomic and epigenetic analysis of primary pancreatic cells obtained from children and adult donors. Her research focuses on understanding the genomic information that governs development, differentiation and function of pancreatic cell lineages.

Jonathan M. Hernandez, M.D.Jonathan Hernandez, M.D., is an Investigator and surgical oncologist in the Surgical 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.

Summary Posted: Mon, 11/02/2020