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SU2C-Cancer Research UK-Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Dream Team: Reprogramming of Transcriptional Circuitry to Control Pancreatic Cancer

Daniel D. Von Hoff, MD, FACP
Leader

Daniel D. Von Hoff, MD, FACP

Physician-in-Chief and Distinguished Professor
Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen)
Professor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic

Gerard I. Evan, PhD
Co-leader

Gerard I. Evan, PhD

Sir William Dunn Professor and Chair, Department of Biochemistry
University of Cambridge

Ronald M. Evans, PhD
Co-leader

Ronald M. Evans, PhD

Professor and Director, Gene Expression Laboratory
Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator

Overview

The Dream Team’s approach is rooted in the central idea that pancreatic cancers are, in essence, “wounds” that never heal. Research from members of this Dream Team, and others in the field, have uncovered gene networks in tumors that are similar to those in injured tissues where repair and regenerative mechanisms are essential to restoration of normal function. Unlike the normal system of wound healing that has a shut-off mechanism, in tumors the process remains on, “hijacked” to constantly drive growth.

The Dream Team believes that the biological machinery involved is controlled through hot spots in a cell’s DNA called Super Enhancers (SE), which control not only the cancer cell, but also surrounding non-cancerous cells, upon which the cancer cells rely for support.

The Dream Team aims to develop new approaches to reset malfunctioning SEs in pancreatic tumors thereby dialing-up the sensitivity to chemotherapy and to anti-cancer immune cells and pushing pancreatic tumors into lasting remission.

Amount Of Funding

$12 million over a three-year period

Principals

  • Joshua D. Rabinowitz, MD, PhD, Princeton University
  • David Propper, MD, St. Bartholomew’s Hospital

Advocates

  • E. Howard Young
  • Suzanne Berenger