Funded by the Constellation Gold Network Distributors
Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancer types in the world. Most pancreatic cancer patients already develop advanced disease and are not suitable for surgery. A very small number of patients can live longer than ten years after surgery and are referred to as long-term survivors. Recently, unique bacteria were found in tumors from long-term survivors but not patients with shorter survival. In addition, long-term survivors tend to have higher numbers of T cells in their tumors – a cell type that is central to the immune system. Therefore, T cells might induce more powerful immune responses against cancer in long-term survivors through these unique bacteria. More precisely, we think that T cells in long-term survivors might “see” antigens from the bacteria and at the same time similar antigens from cancer cells. Our study is designed to understand the T cell responses unique to long-term survivors through T cell specificity inferences with our computer algorithms. The specificity inference will further guide our effort in finding these antigens that are “seen” by T cells in long-term survivors. Identifying these antigens from both cancer cells and the unique bacteria in long-term survivors will help us invent new and better treatments for pancreatic cancer patients.