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Johnson Cancer Research Center

Pancreatic Cancer Research Collaboration of Excellence

The Pancreatic Cancer Research Collaboration of Excellence (formerly Center of Excellence for Pancreatic Cancer Research) was established by the Johnson Cancer Research Center in November, 2018. It boasts a multidisciplinary team of outstanding researchers from five K-State departments and several specialized laboratories as well as the University of Kansas Cancer Center. The collaboration is led by Punit Prakash, associate professor of electrical & computer engineering.

Major goals:
  • to develop liquid biopsy early-detection methods that enable inexpensive, frequent and routine testing for onset or recurrence of pancreatic cancer
  • to develop new drug therapies using cutting-edge chemical synthesis and characterization methods, expert nanotechnology, state-of-the-art in-vitro experimentation and ultra-high-field MRI methods
Focus areas:

Principal Investigator
Punit Prakash, associate professor of electrical & computer engineering

Cancer Detection
Led by Jun Li, professor of chemistry

Pancreatic cancer has unfavorable biologic features that have to be discovered early to have any chance for successful treatment with the current standard of care. To date, these tumors are rarely diagnosed early because of their short lead times of a couple of months to two years. For these cases, inexpensive screening methods have to be developed to permit frequent routine tests for the onset or recurrence of cancer. Liquid biopsies based on tumor-specific/highly selective alterations of the proteome show promise in this area. This collaboration will develop two cutting-edge detection methods for profiling pancreatic cancer overexpressed proteases.

Drug Discovery
Led by Duy Hua, university distinguished professor of chemistry

The proteolytic network is dysfunctional in tumors, contributing to tumor survival, angiogenesis, invasion and, in pancreatic cancer, to desmoplasia. In order to enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy against pancreatic cancer, this center will develop novel combination drug therapies comprised of protease blockers for ADAM 10 and cathepsin B, together with either FDA-approved pancreatic cancer drugs or chemical variations of FDA-approved drugs.

Virus-related studies
Led by Nicholas Wallace, assistant professor of biology

Info coming soon.

In-Vivo Testing and MRI
Led by

The collaboration will evaluate tumor growth with classic methods as well as with ultra-high-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in K-State's Chemistry Core Instrumentation Facility. Advanced MRI methods will enable to quantify the growth of tumor and stromal regions, (micro)metastases and (micro)vasculature in response to chemotherapy.

Other Scientists and Partners

 

Progress Reports

To exemplify the Johnson Cancer Research Center’s expectation of comprehensive research plans and goals for Cancer Research Collaborations of Excellence, we are publishing the progress reports from the Pancreatic CRCE. Questions about this report or CRCE expectations should be directed to the JCRC director.

CRCE for Pancreatic Cancer Progress Report 2019 (pdf)

CRCE for Pancreatic Cancer Progress Report 2020 (pdf)

 

In the News

News Release - Kansas State University launches Center of Excellence for Pancreatic Cancer Research - November 19, 2018

K-State Foundation's 'Good for K-State' magazine feature - "A big step in cancer detection" - Summer 2019