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Targeting nuclear receptors for the treatment of Pancreatic cancer

Institution: University of California, San Diego
Investigator(s): Nirakar Rajbhandari,
Award Cycle: 2019 (Cycle 29) Grant #: T29FT0280 Award: $180,996
Subject Area: Cancer
Award Type: Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards

Initial Award Abstract
Pancreatic cancer is one of those cancers whose survival rate has not improved significantly over last 40 years. Despite the relatively low incidence rate, it has the highest mortality rate among all the cancers. Of particular concern, pancreatic cancer is the only cancer with increasing mortality. Currently, only surgery remains the best chance of cure when detected early, as there are no therapies available to effectively treat this disease. To make condition even worse, even the early identified localized tumors are not operable in number of occasions. On the other end, patients who initially respond to the currently existing gold-standard chemotherapy, often develop resistance and do not respond to the treatment and die due to recurrent disease. These currently existing challenges requires the need for identification of therapeutic options that can efficiently cure this disease in advanced stage, or the development of techniques or tools that can detect this disease at a very early benign stage, along with the measures to prevent the progression of early stage disease to inoperable advanced stages. To offer one possible solution for treatment of pancreatic cancer, our lab proposes to target the seed of the cancer, i.e., the cancer stem cells by inhibiting proteins unique to such cells. Our lab have already identified a number of proteins that are unique to the pancreatic cancer stem cells. The outcome of our currently proposed study will reveal if targeting cancer stem cells can prevent the growth and spread of invasive pancreatic cancer to prolong the survival of the pancreatic cancer patients.