A Healthier Wisconsin

The Origin and Function of Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts in Pancreatic Cancer

Investigating the cellular drivers of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma to improve understanding of potential therapeutic targets

Full Project Name:The Origin and Function of Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts in Pancreatic CancerPrincipal Investigator:Gustavo W. Leone, PhD, Cancer CenterAward Amount:$3,100,000
Award Date
Project Duration:60 Months

Project Description Narrative:

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pancreatic cancer is one of the leading cancers to end in death in the United States. Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the most common and lethal type of pancreatic cancers, with only a 9.2% survival rate five years after diagnosis.

One of the most prominent features of PDAC is the dense composition of cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs). The main type of cell in the pancreatic cancer microenvironment, CAFs are complex and can both promote and hinder the probability of developing cancer, making further understanding of their origins significant to the prevention and treatment of pancreatic cancer.

Through this award, investigators aim to identify the origins of CAFs in pancreatic cancers and advance understanding of how they function to promote and/or inhibit cancer initiation or progression in order to support future study of new therapeutic avenues that could slow tumor progression or increase PDAC patient survival.

Outcomes & Lessons Learned:

  • Identified tissue origin of pancreatic CAFs (cancer associated fibroblasts), which are the bulk of CAFs in pancreatic cancer
  • Extended understanding of the mechanisms regulating both pancreatic morphogenesis and carcinogenesis
  • Established a new mouse model that can be used to determine the role of key regulators of development and cancer
  • Disseminated findings through three published manuscripts and an academic presentation

AHW Logo

8701 W Watertown Plank Road,
Milwaukee, WI 53226-0509
(414) 955-4350