Congratulations to LSI’s Early Career Investigators for winning 3 out of 20 MSFHR Scholar Awards
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the third leading cause of cancer related deaths mostly due to the absence of symptoms as the cancer develops. This leads to diagnosis after the tumor has already become widely invasive and cannot be surgically removed. Unfortunately, surgical removal of early stage tumors is the most effective treatment option and other treatments, such as chemotherapy, are woefully ineffective.
Thus, there are two major fronts where research could improve the outcomes of pancreatic cancer patients:
Regenerative medicine such as stem cell based therapy holds great promise towards addressing many diseases that afflict millions of Canadians, including many forms of cancer, muscular and neurological degenerative disorders, diabetes, and arthritis. However, this promise has yet to be fully realized. Despite the many advances in stem cell biology, little is known on the mechanisms governing stem cell identity and on how this identity can be effectively changed and applied towards its target function.
Gut health is closely connected to our microbiota, a unique, constantly evolving, group of trillions of bacteria that live in our bodies. Gut microbes produce compounds that are absorbed into our blood, providing nourishment and also affecting the gut environment. The digestive tract is composed of many different local areas, called habitats, in which physical and chemical properties such as water availability, salt concentration, acidity or temperature are tightly controlled by human-microbe interactions.