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Pamela Itkin-Ansari, PhD

Sanford-Burnham-Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, University Of California, San Diego

My lab recently found that a single gene reprograms pancreatic cancer cells back to their original cell type, halting tumor growth in animals. There is precedent for a cell reprogramming strategy in cancer treatment; this approach changed a once lethal leukemia, acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), into a curable disease. To exploit the previously unrecognized plasticity of pancreatic cancer cells, we developed a drug screening platform. From a screen of 4300 known drugs we have identified several compounds that appear to regulate the pathway of interest.  With help from the Sky Foundation we propose to evaluate the potential ‘hits’ in mechanistic studies in cells and in an animal model of pancreatic cancer. Our ultimate goal is to identify a drug, or drug combination, that can be translated to the clinic as a novel reprogramming therapy for pancreatic cancer.

RESEARCH FUNDED BY SKY FOUNDATION, INC.

PROJECT TITLE: CELL REPROGRAMMING STRATEGY FOR PANCREATIC CANCER TREATMENT

PRINCIPLE INVESTIGATOR:

Pamela Itkin-Ansari, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Sanford-Burnham-Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, University Of California, San Diego

PROJECT SUMMARY:

My lab recently found that a single gene reprograms pancreatic cancer cells back to their original cell type, halting tumor growth in animals

Our research suggests that the protein E47 has tumor suppressor activity in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC)

To exploit the previously unrecognized plasticity of pancreatic cancer cells, we developed a drug screening platform

From a screen of 4300 known drugs we identified two that induce E47 activity in PD patient tumor cells in the lab. The two drugs work in synergy to halt growth and to induce cell death

With Sky Foundation funding we propose to evaluate the potential ‘hits’ in mechanistic studies in cells and in an animal model of pancreatic cancer

Our ultimate goal is to identify a drug, or drug combination, that can be translated to the clinic as a novel reprogramming therapy for pancreatic cancer