Pancreatic cancer is resistant to available cancer therapies, and this is also reflected in the 5-year survival rate that is below 6 %. This indicate that novel strategies to tackle the disease are needed. The pancreatic tumor is characterized by a pronounced tumor stroma that surrounds the cancer cells, containing nerves, vasculature, immune cells, extracellular matrix proteins and cancer-associated fibroblasts, that all interacts with the cancer cells and provide the tumor with important signals that regulate cancer cell growth and survival, and contribute to therapy resistance.
The overall goal for the lab is to get a deeper understanding in the stromal heterogeneity, and to reveal and explore potential druggable targets hidden within the stroma. First, we aim to determine which factors in the stroma that are important in regulating cancer cell growth, survival, immune escape, and drug resistance by using genetically engineered mouse models of pancreatic cancer and advanced 3-dimentional cell culture systems. Finally, we will develop and test drugs that inhibit the most important stromal interactions with the aim to discover new methods to treat the disease.