Pancreatic cancer is a very aggressive disease. The 5-year survival rate is a shockingly low 8%. This statistic has hardly changed in 30 years. This is because effective treatment options for pancreatic cancer do not exist.
A notable feature of pancreatic tumors is a scar-like barrier that protects the cells from anti-cancer drugs. This barrier also restricts oxygen and nutrient access, placing the cancer cells on the brink of starvation. The Lyssiotis lab seeks to figure out how these cancer cells survive and grow with limited nutrient access.
Pancreatic tumors are also known to be made up primarily of non-cancer support cells. My lab recently found that these non-cancer cells provide the cancer cells with nutrients. In this proposal, my laboratory will determine the role of these nutrients on tumor growth. A means to block this pathway would starve the already nutrient deprived cancer cells. This will provide important insights to design new therapies for this dreadful disease.