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IU researchers receive $3.2 million to develop, improve therapies for pancreatic cancer
Date:3/13/2013

INDIANAPOLIS -- Two Indiana University researchers have been awarded a multi-year, $3.2 million grant to develop and improve therapies for pancreatic cancer, the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States.

Mark R. Kelley, Ph.D., Betty and Earl Herr Professor of Pediatric Oncology Research, and Melissa L. Fishel, Ph.D., assistant research professor of pediatrics, both at the IU School of Medicine, were awarded a 5-year grant (CA167291) from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health. The two Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center researchers will focus on investigating the signaling pathways and molecular mechanisms that contribute to pancreatic tumor progression and resistance to therapy.

Signaling pathway describes a group of molecules in a cell that work together to control one or more cell functions, such as cell division or cell death. After the first molecule in a pathway receives a signal, it activates another molecule. This process is repeated until the last molecule is activated and the cell function is carried out. Abnormal activation of signaling pathways can lead to cancer.

In their laboratory research, Drs. Kelley and Fishel plan to block a protein, redox factor 1 (Ref-1), which is crucial to regulating pancreatic tumor growth and metastasis. They will use a protein inhibitor that Dr. Kelley and colleagues developed that has shown promise in the lab in blocking Ref-1.

"We will study a particular protein, Ref-1, that we believe is involved in signaling between the tumor and the tumor's environment," Dr. Fishel said. "We hope to better understand how this protein signals and functions in the tumor microenvironment as well as in the tumor cells. We're hoping that if we can inhibit the function of Ref-1, we can blunt the tumor's ability to live."

Researchers have been learning that a tumor's microenvironment plays a significant role in the life and dea
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Contact: Michael Schug
maschug@iupui.edu
317-278-0953
Indiana University
Source:Eurekalert  

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IU researchers receive $3.2 million to develop, improve therapies for pancreatic cancer
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