Seminar: Programming and reprogramming cell fate in pancreatic cancer

Date/Time: Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 12:30 PM
Location: University of British Columbia, Life Sciences LSC 3
Presenter: Dr. Charles Murtaugh, Associate Professor, University of Utah
Host: Dr. Kopp, UBC Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences

The Murtaugh lab is interested in the relationship between differentiation and disease in the pancreas. The most abundant cell in the pancreas is the exocrine acinar cell, which is devoted to synthesis and secretion of digestive enzymes. In disease, however, this single-minded focus is lost as acinar cells reprogram to alternative, pathological fates. We and others have identified acinar reprogramming as an initiating event in pancreatic cancer, and our recent studies indicate that differentiation-specific gene expression, driven by the transcription factor Ptf1a, suppresses tumor initiation and progression. Ptf1a mediates resistance of normal cells to transformation by the major pancreatic cancer oncogene, Kras, and re-activation of Ptf1a or its downstream targets may provide a novel therapeutic approach to this particularly deadly human tumor.

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