LA JOLLA, CA – The UC San Diego School of Medicine received a $ 1 million grant from Stand Up to Cancer Tuesday to investigate pancreatic cancer, the country's third deadliest cancer.
The UCSD research team will work with UC San Francisco researchers to use grants for preclinical models and drug testing to counteract the growth and progression of pancreatic cancer cells in combination with chemotherapy. Stand Up to Cancer has been awarded partnership support with the Lustgarten Foundation, a pancreatic cancer collective.
"In our earlier work, we identified a group of pancreatic cancer cells that were particularly aggressive and responsive to lethality and resistance to therapy," said Dr. Pharmac. Tannishtha Reya. "We've recently focused on identifying key signaling networks that are needed to survive these drug resistant cells. This reward is very important because it allows us to test whether drugs against these pathways can act as effective new agents for blocking pancreatic cancer."
In the long run, researchers are hoping for the completion of clinical drug trials. Surgery is the only current treatment for pancreatic cancer with the potential for treating patients of this disease.
However, metastatic pancreatic cancer cells are common, so the surgery is recommended only for about 20 percent of the patients, according to the UCSD. Pancreatic cancer – the third most deadly cancer type in the country – makes up 3 percent of cancer cases in the United States.
"Pancreatic cancer outcomes remain the worst of all common types of cancer," Reya said. "By using what we have learned about triggering pancreatic cancer growth and drug resistance, we hope to offer new ways to treat people living with this disease."
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