Pancreatic cancer has a dismal 8% five-year survival rate. This is primarily due to the lack of early symptoms, high metastatic rates, and poor clinical drug responses. Currently, intense research is being done across the world to identify new drugs that may increase the overall survival of patients. However, we think the greatest leap in patient survival will be due to advances in the early detection of pancreatic cancer tumors. In anticipation of such advances, mechanistic understanding of metastasis, specifically, understanding how pancreatic cancer cells survive the process of developing into distant metastatic sites, will be critical to developing therapies limiting the metastatic potential of early lesions. A critical component of metastasis is cellular adhesion and migration. To begin to understand this process, we aim to uncover regulators of adhesion in pancreatic cancer cells. These protein regulators may provide new drug targets for metastatic pancreatic cancer as well as potentially prevent the development of metastatic sites in early pancreatic cancer.
Jesse Bakke, PhD