Grants - V Scholar Grants - Texas - 2016

Florencia McAllister, M.D.

The most common mutation found in patients with pancreatic cancer is a mutation in the Kras gene. However, this mutation is not sufficient for initiation and progression of pancreatic cancer. It is well known that inflammation is a risk factor for pancreatic cancer and can accelerate pancreatic cancer development. We have shown that during pancreatic inflammation, caused by cigarette smoking, stones, or other stressors, immune cells secreting a factor named IL-17 are recruited to the pancreas and are capable of inducing pancreatic cancer initiation and development. We are now interested in understanding the role of these cells in regulating pancreatic cancer stem cells induction and invasiveness. This information will be useful for pancreatic cancer prevention and treatment given the existence of commercially available monoclonal antibodies that target specifically these cells.

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