Pancreatic cancer is a deadly disease, characterized by universal resistance to therapeutic regimens and aggressive biology with early metastatic seeding. Dr. Hasnis’ research addresses those challenges by identifying gene expression signatures associated with the aggressive and resistant phenotype of the disease in different models. The researchers in the Hasnis lab use a unique mouse model, in which early pancreatic cancer is resected and removed, only to allow later development of liver metastasis. High-throughput analyses are then used to compare cells from the primary tumor and cells from the liver metastases, in order to identify traits that support metastatic fitness. This approach has identified several novel genes that are critical for the development of metastatic disease in pancreatic cancer patients.
The research being carried out in Dr. Hasnis’ laboratory aims to evaluate the function of those genes in the local and distant spread of this horrific disease. Pancreatic cancer is also notorious for its resistance to immune therapy. Related studies in the lab examine mechanisms underlying the escape of pancreatic tumor cells from immune surveillance. Factors that support evasion from the immune system are expected to serve as novel targets to increase efficacy of immune therapy in pancreatic cancer, thus reducing tumor aggression and prolonging patient survival.
Meet the Hasnis Lab Team