Dr. Pei Wang's lab is focused on the two major diseases of the pancreas: diabetes which involves the endocrine tissue and PDAC (pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma), a cancer of the exocrine pancreas that is notorious for its dismal prognosis.
Our lab has established a novel model of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) which allows us to use normal human pancreatic cells to model human PDAC to identify human-specific aspects of PDAC. Our research of PDAC expands to many areas, including developing interventions to block the pancreatitis-facilitated neoplasia of oncogenic KRAS; identifying lineage-specific genes and signaling pathways responsible for PDAC tumorigenesis; testing whether the various mutations found in patients are drivers or passengers; identifying specific markers of premalignant lesions that can serve as prognostic markers; and investigating the influence of the tumor environment on PDAC development.
We discovered a critical role for the Hippo signaling pathway in the pathogenesis of pancreatitis using genetic engineered mouse model. This was somewhat unexpected as this pathway had been previously implicated in regulating organ size but not in fibrosis and inflammation. Using our mouse model, we revealed that the Hippo pathway does contribute to fibrosis and inflammation in the pancreas, a condition known as pancreatitis. In humans, this is a costly and painful disease that is the top risk factor for pancreatic cancer. Thus, it is very important to investigate how the Hippo pathway is involved.
NIDDK The Hippo signaling pathway in pancreatic epithelial cells orchestrate the inflammatory response
The major goal of this grant is to study function of Hippo pathway in normal pancreas using mouse genetic model.
R01 CA237159 (PI: Wang P) 03/01/2020 - 2/28/2025
NCI Mechanisms of pancreatic cancer initiation and progression from normal human pancreatic tissue
R21 CA245437 (PI: Wang P) 02/01/2020 - 1/31/2022
Identify tumor suppressor driver genes of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma
Funding Agency CPRIT Title Engineer pancreatic cancer cells Status Complete Period 9/2012 - 8/2017 Role Principal Investigator Grant Detail CPRIT 1st Time Recruitment Award to support the research on pancreatic cancer by establishing novel cancer model using the normal primary human pancreatic tissue.