Developing new and specific therapeutic options for pancreatic cancer (PDAC) is the overall goal of a new Clinical Research Unit at the University Medical Center Göttingen, to which the German Research Foundation (DFG) has now granted nearly 5.9 million Euros in funding for a period of four years. The researchers of KFO 5002 “Deciphering genome dynamics for subtype-specific therapy in pancreatic cancer” are investigating the mechanistic and functional effects of deregulated genome dynamics, e.g. defects in genome stability, chromosome structure/function or DNA transcription. Their aim is to find out how these effects lead to specific features of different PDAC subtypes in terms of their progression and resistence and to use these new insights to develop novel and personalized therapeutic options. KFO 5002 has started its research activities in September and is coordinated by Prof. Volker Ellenrieder (Director Department of Gastroenterology and Gastrointestinal Oncology) and PD Dr. Elisabeth Heßmann (Department of Gastroenterology and Gastrointestinal Oncology).
The Institute of Human Genetics contributes significantly to KFO 5002 in two essential core projects that support the experiments performed in the different scientific subprojects. A multigene panel comprising 82 PDAC-associated genes has been specifically designed for the clinical research unit and is applied for molecular characterization of tumor samples by highthroughput sequencing (PD Dr. Silke Kaulfuß, Prof. Bernd Wollnik). NIG, the NGS Integrative Genomics Core Unit affiliated with the Institute and headed by Dr. Gabriela Salinas, performs next-generation sequencing-based transcriptome analyses for all CRC partners to decipher subtype-specific signatures.
PDAC is one of the most common tumors and has a very poor prognosis. It is an exceptionally aggressive type of cancer showing a remarkable therapeutic resistance. Therefore, innovative and better treatment strategies are desperately needed to improve survival rates of patients with pancreatic cancer.