October 19, 2022

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) awarded $9.3 million in support of two five-year research projects from researchers in the UNC Lineberger Pancreatic Cancer Center of Excellence (PCCE) in partnership with other institutions as part of the Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma Stromal Reprogramming Consortium (PSRC). The PSRC focuses on identifying, integrating and mechanistically evaluating additional tumor microenvironment elements that drive pancreatic cancer progression and response to therapy.

Dr. Naim Rashid

Dr. Naim Rashid

The first project, “Integrating tumor and stroma to understand and predict treatment response,” will be led by UNC Lineberger’s Jen Jen Yeh, MD, professor of Surgery and Pharmacology and director for the PCCE, and Naim Rashid, PhD, associate professor of biostatistics at thew UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, as well as Susan Tsai, MD, MHS, FACS, director of the LaBahn Pancreatic Cancer Program at Medical College of Wisconsin. They will use a combination of cancer biology and computational approaches to understand the tumor and tumor microenvironment and help predict treatment response in patients. 

The second study, “Reprogramming PDAC stroma by targeting coagulation in the tumor microenvironment,” is to be conducted by UNC Lineberger’s Matthew Flick, PhD, associate professor of Pathology and Lab Medicine, Purdue University’s Bumsoo Han, PhD, and Indiana University School of Medicine’s Melissa Fishel, PhD. The researchers’ main goal is to learn how targeting coagulation activity in the pancreatic tumor microenvironment can enhance the delivery and efficacy of anti-tumor chemotherapy and immunotherapy. 

“We’re proud to have such amazing clinical and scientific teams here at UNC and across institutions focused on making progress in the fight against pancreatic cancer,” Yeh said, adding, “Receiving these grants from the NCI is a testament to the amazing work our researchers have done and the lofty goals we have for the future of cancer treatment.” 

Contact the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at sphcomm@unc.edu.

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