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FINDING CURES TOGETHER<sup>SM</sup>

SU2C-Lustgarten Foundation Dream Team: Transforming Pancreatic Cancer to a Treatable Disease

Leader

Elizabeth M. Jaffee, MD, FAACR

Elizabeth M. Jaffee, MD, FAACR
Deputy Director, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins

Co-leader

Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil

Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil
Director, Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania; Hanna Wise Professor in Cancer Research, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine

Overview

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is resistant to most forms of therapy and is one of the most deadly types of cancer. The environment that surrounds cancer cells is referred to as the tumor microenvironment. Studies in mice and humans have shown that the PDA tumor microenvironment has unique characteristics that are thought to limit the efficacy of treatment.

The Dream Team uses a "convergence" approach where leading individuals in different scientific fields work together toward understanding and treating PDA.

The Dream Team has been conducting numerous clinical trials using a combination of drugs and is establishing what molecules, or biomarkers, can be measured as a read-out of tumor microenvironment reprogramming. The Team's trials are focusing on new ways to reverse immune suppression in the tumor, either in combination with a vaccine that activates anti-cancer T cells or with chemotherapy. These trials will also contribute to the establishment of a national PDA biobank for identification of immune biomarkers.

Progress to Date

The Team's trials are focusing on new ways to reverse immune suppression in the tumor, either in combination with a vaccine that activates anti-cancer T cells or with chemotherapy. These trials will also establish a national PDA biobank for identification of immune biomarkers. Laboratory studies in mice are being conducted to establish novel multi-agent approaches and to develop biomarkers that will drive the next generation of clinical trials. 

Amount Of Funding:

$8 million

Principals

​Margaret A. Tempero, MD, University of California, San Francisco
Lisa M. Coussens, PhD, Oregon Health & Science University
David C. Linehan, MD, Washington University in St. Louis
Dafna Bar-Sagi, PhD, NYU Langone Medical Center
Irving L. Weissman, MD, Stanford University
Douglas T. Fearon, MD, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
Steven D. Leach, MD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Advocates

​Betty Booher
Stuart Rickerson
Richard Vague