Maintenance of a mesenchymal stem cell niche in pancreatic cancer (PCa) models
Project fact file
School / Division
Division of Cancer and Stem Cells
Technically-intensive/specialised research projects with high consumable costs
An important feature of PCa associated with its particularly poor prognosis is the extensive stroma which may contribute to disease resistance4, 5. There is growing recognition of the importance of the tumour microenvironment in determining biological characteristics of cancer cells and the effect of interactions between epithelial cells and stromal components on tumour establishment, growth, metastasis and drug resistance6; in turn, cancer epithelial cells may promote the desmoplastic response observed in PCa7.
Given the growing evidence for paracrine signalling in many key pathways involved in cancer progression12-15, which can only occur in models in which human stromal cells as well as epithelial elements are present, most PCa do not fully recapitulate human disease because they are missing this important stromal element.
The aim is to build improved models using primary pancreatic cancer cells, based on our success in other cancer-types including lung and colorectal cancer. The models will incorporate stromal cells, allowing us to investigate their role in supporting pancreatic cancer progression and drug resistance and lead to innovative and more patient-relevant models of pancreatic cancer.