Project 3 - Pancreas

Exploring if Racial Disparities Seen in PDAC are Related to how the Pancreas Microenvironment Develops During ADM

Our previously funded CaRE2 Pilot project used normal pancreatic acinar tissues from Black, White and Hispanic/Latino(a/x/e) donors to study the impact of race on acinar-to-ductal metaplasia (ADM), a major precursor of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). We established that Black individuals undergo ADM to a greater extent than White or H/L individuals. In this new project, we will address the hypothesis that the racial disparities seen in PDAC are related to differences in how the pancreas microenvironment develops during ADM, which means that ADM and its surrounding microenvironment can be used as a target to treat PDAC. Commonly used experimental models of PDAC (e.g. cancer cell lines and mouse models) fail to recapitulate the patient to patient heterogeneity with respect to gender, comorbidities and importantly, race and particularly in tissues that range from normal to chronic pancreatitis (CP) to PDCA. Since CP is major precursor to the development of PDAC, we will expand on and extend our previous study by including diseased tissues from CP and PDAC from White, Black, and H/L donors to evaluate ADM, microenvironment remodeling, and response to therapy for PDAC.

Meet the Project Team

Jamel Ali

project 3 | FAMU


Thomas Schmittgen​

Project 3 | UF

Bo Han

project 3 | USC

Want to Join Us?

If you share our interest in reducing cancer health disparities, please consider becoming a member of the CaRE² center. Investigators, trainees, community leaders, and advocates are welcome.