other therapies to treat pancreatic cancer.

Project leaders are Dr. Buchsbaum and

Albert LoBuglio, M.D., director emeritus of

the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center.

• Genomic analysis of cancer regulators.

Investigators will perform an in-depth

genetic analysis of pancreatic cancer cells

to help unravel the biological changes that

lead to tumor growth, metastasis and treat-

ment resistance. This genomic data will be

used to design new clinical trials that target

the specific genes and cellular pathways that

regulate cancer growth. Project leaders are

David Largaespada, Ph.D., of the University

of Minnesota in Minneapolis; David

Tuveson, M.D., Ph.D., of the University

of Cambridge; and Christine Iacobuzio-

Donahue, M.D., Ph.D., of Johns hopkins

University in Baltimore.

• Targeting pancreatic cancer stem cells.

Testing continues on experimental agents

that can regulate a small subset of pancre-

atic cancer cells called stem cells, which

are believed to be linked to many cases of

inoperable metastatic pancreatic cancer. One

promising agent is a genetically altered virus,

called an adenovirus, designed to attack

cancer stem cells while leaving healthy cells

untouched. Project leaders are David Curiel,

M.D., Ph.D., of Washington University in

St. Louis, and Masato yamamoto, M.D.,

Ph.D., of the University of Minnesota in


In addition to these research projects, the

SPORe grant supports a pancreatic cancer

tissue resource center, a clinical core and a

biostatistics program.

“We are extremely proud that the NCI has

awarded us this prestigious grant, making us

one of the very few elite centers to have multi-

ple SPORes,” Dr. Partridge says. “It reaffirms

our status as a leader in conducting cutting-

edge research and translating that into treat-

ments for patients. That’s the ultimate goal.”

l research update CaNCER CENTER


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members of the pancreatic SPore team (left to right) Patsy oliver, Kyoko Kojima and Senait Asmellash (front);

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Stacey branham (back)

18 u A b C o m P r e H e N S I V e C A N C e r C e N T e r