Report from the NCRI Conference Best of Translational Science; Pancreatic research

Author: Hayley Morris, CM-Path Workstream 1 member

During this session, chaired by Dr. David Chang, University of Glasgow, we were presented recent translational pancreatic research data. Dr. Claus Jorgensen, CRUK Manchester Institute discussed his work on heterocellular interactions in the tumour microenvironment of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). His team used single cell analysis and found that within a tumour, cells can be classified into subgroups according to the expression of certain proteins and cytokines. They also found that some of these tumour cell subgroups can re-programme stromal fibroblasts to promote tumour growth.

Dr. George Miller, NYU School of Medicine, discussed his work on the translation of basic research into early phase immunotherapy trials. Particularly interesting were the studies looking at the effect of modulating the gut microbiome on the progression of PDAC and on the efficacy of immune therapy.

Finally, Dr. Jen Morton, CRUK Beatson Institute, talked about her extensive work on models of PDAC and in particular the role of KDM6A mutation, which when added to established PDAC models accelerated tumourigenesis. Another aspect of her work is investigation of the PDAC tumour microenvironment, in which she has demonstrated that it is possible to induce tumour shrinkage, decrease metastatic potential and improve survival by use of drugs that target the tumour microenvironment.

Collectively, the talks in this session demonstrated the full spectrum of “bench to bedside” translational research in pancreatic cancer.