Uncovering how injury to the pancreas impacts cancer formation

LA JOLLA—Scientists at the Salk Institute and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Basic Sciences have found that cells in the pancreas form new cell types to mitigate injury, but are then susceptible to cancerous mutations. The research, led by Salk Professor Geoffrey Wahl and Vanderbilt Assistant Professor Kathy DelGiorno, former staff scientist in the Wahl lab, was published in the journal Gastroenterology on October 22, 2021.

The findings establish a “better understanding of the mechanisms of healing in the pancreas and when these processes go awry,” says DelGiorno.

The team used a multidisciplinary approach that combined RNA sequencing, imaging techniques, genetically engineered models and human samples to identify the cell types that form in response to pancreatic injury. From this approach, “we compared our dataset to published datasets of gastric injury, oncogene-induced pancreatic neoplasia, and human pancreatitis to identify conserved processes across species and organ systems,” says…
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