Key words: pancreatic cancer, oncogenic Kras, tumor immunology, tumor microenvironment
While it is appreciated that host immunity plays a critical role in regulating tumorigenesis, the mechanisms behind immune response evasion in Kras-driven pancreatic cancer are poorly understood. For example, while T cells with specificities against tumor antigens have been found in human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, it is not clear if antigen-dependent pathways would be utilized as the main driving forces in productive anti-tumor immunity. Meanwhile, this information is crucial for the development of T- and dendritic-cell based immunotherapies. Similarly, while systemic immune changes have been documented in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer, our understanding of the role of the immune system in the process of pancreatic cancer metastasis is scant.
Our current research aims to elucidate the cellular and molecular mechanisms of immune cell co-option by cancer cells, and to determine the significance of this crosstalk in tumor initiation and progression to metastatic disease. To achieve this, we use genetically engineered spontaneous and transplant-based mouse models of pancreatic cancer that feature activation of oncogenic Kras and mutations in tumor suppressor p53. These mouse models recapitulate key features of human pancreatic adenocarcinomas characterized by extensive remodeling of the surrounding microenvironment complete with pronounced influx of immune cells that shape the inflammatory and immunosuppressive pro-tumorigenic milieu. These pathological features of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma highlight the potential clinical significance of investigational efforts into mechanisms of immunomodulation in pancreatic cancer.
- Kelly C. Allen, Research Technician
- Sarah Lowder, Undergraduate Research Assistant
- Ryan Searcy, Undergraduate Research Assistant, Email
Yuliya Pylayeva-Gupta in UNC Genetics News
January 11, 2021
Department of Genetics Publications for Dec. 27, 2020 – Jan. 9, 2021
Department of Genetics faculty, postdocs, students and collaborators published nine papers during Dec. 27, 2020 – Jan. 9, 2021.
January 4, 2021
Yuliya Pylayeva-Gupta, PhD Appointed Associate Professor with Tenure
Dr. Yuliya Pylayeva-Gupta has been appointed Associate Professor with tenure in the Department of Genetics, effective Jan. 1, 2021.
November 2, 2020
Department of Genetics Publications for October 11-31, 2020
Department of Genetics faculty, postdocs, students and collaborators published 18 papers during October 11-31, 2020. Survival, Pathologic Response, and Genomics in CALGB 40601 (Alliance), a Neoadjuvant Phase III Trial of Paclitaxel-Trastuzumab With or Without Lapatinib in HER2-Positive Breast Cancer. Fernandez-Martinez A, Krop IE, Hillman DW, Polley MY, Parker JS, Huebner L, Hoadley KA, …
May 4, 2020
Department of Genetics Publications for April 19 – May 2, 2020.
Department of Genetics faculty, postdocs, students and collaborators published nine papers during April 19 – May 2, 2020.
February 10, 2020
Department of Genetics Publications for Jan. 26 – Feb. 8, 2020
Department of Genetics faculty, postdocs, students and collaborators published fifteen papers during Jan. 26 – Feb. 8, 2020.
April 18, 2019
Celebrating Funding Success for Early Stage Faculty
Over the past six months, multiple Assistant Professors in the department have been awarded grants to enable exploration of new fields of research and to support expansion of their programs.
February 5, 2019
Yuliya Pylayeva-Gupta Awarded Grant from V Foundation for Cancer Research
Yuliya Pylayeva-Gupta, PhD (Assistant Professor) is the PI on a new award from the V Foundation for Cancer Research.