The David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MITThe David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

National Cancer Institute Cancer Center

Science + Engineering... Conquering Cancer Together

Combating Resistance in Pancreatic Cancer

Lead author Simona Dalin (center), along with two of her co-authors, postdoctoral researcher Mark Sullivan and undergraduate researcher Bea Graumann-Boss

The chemotherapy gemcitabine is among the most effective pancreatic cancer therapies, yet nearly all patients fail to respond or quickly develop resistance. A recent Cancer Research paper highlights work by the Hemann lab, in collaboration with the Vander Heiden group, to better understand how pancreatic tumor stroma—prominent fibrotic tissue that surrounds the tumor— limits gemcitabine response. Their findings implicate a metabolite known as deoxycytidine, which is secreted by stromal cells called pancreatic stellate cells, and inhibits gemcitabine processing in tumor cells. Their work suggests that reducing deoxycytidine production in the stellate cells may increase the efficacy of gemcitabine and similar therapies. This work was supported in part by a David H. Koch fellowship and the MIT Center for Precision Cancer Medicine; KI members Jacqueline Lees and Doug Lauffenburger are also senior authors. Read more.