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.
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Training Program Affiliations:
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Yuliya Pylayeva-Gupta in UNC Genetics News
March 28, 2023
NCI awards Earp, Pylayeva-Gupta five-year, $2.69 million pancreatic cancer research grant
The National Cancer Institute has awarded UNC Lineberger’s Shelley Earp, MD, and Yuliya Pylayeva-Gupta, PhD, a five-year, $2.69 million R01 research project grant to investigate approaches to overcome barriers to pancreatic cancer immunotherapies. Their objective is to understand resistance to modern immunotherapy and to design more effective combination therapies.
October 10, 2022
Department of Genetics Publications for September 25th – October 8th, 2022
Department of Genetics faculty, postdocs, students and collaborators published 10 papers during September 25th – October 8th, 2022.
October 5, 2022
Dr. Yuliya Pylayeva-Gupta Awarded 2022 Hettleman Prize
Yuliya Pylayeva-Gupta, PhD (Associate Professor, Genetics) has been awarded a Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement, recognizing her groundbreaking and innovate research and future career promise.
September 26, 2022
Department of Genetics Publications for September 11th – 24th, 2022
Department of Genetics faculty, postdocs, students and collaborators published 10 papers during September 11th - 24th, 2022.
August 29, 2022
Department of Genetics Publications for August 14th – 27th, 2022
Department of Genetics faculty, postdocs, students and collaborators published 14 papers during August 14th – 27th, 2022.
January 31, 2022
Department of Genetics Publications January 16th – 29th, 2022
Department of Genetics faculty, postdocs, students and collaborators published 17 papers during January 16th – 29th, 2022.
January 24, 2022
Yuliya Pylayeva-Gupta, PhD Receives ACS Research Scholar Award
Dr. Yuliya Pylayeva-Gupta (Associate Professor, Department of Genetics) has received an American Cancer Society Research Scholar Award for her project titled “B Cells as Mediators of Tumor Eradication in Pancreatic Cancer”.
January 17, 2022
Department of Genetics Publications January 2nd – 15th 2022
Department of Genetics faculty, postdocs, students and collaborators published eleven papers during January 2nd – 15th, 2022.
January 5, 2022
Yuliya Pylayeva-Gupta, PhD Receives 2022 Mark Foundation for Cancer Research “Emerging Leader Award”
Dr. Yuliya Pylayeva-Gupta (Associate Professor, Genetics and Member, UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center) has received the 2022 Mark Foundation for Cancer Research “Emerging Leader Award” for her project titled “Reprogramming B cell fate and function in cancer”.
January 25, 2021
Department of Genetics Publications for January 10-23, 2021
Department of Genetics faculty, postdocs, students and collaborators published seven papers during Jan. 10-23, 2021.