Pancreatic Cancer

Cell Signaling in Pancreatic Cancer by Miranda and Shannon

What is pancreatic cancer?

Pancreatic cancer is the unusual growth of cells in the pancreas. Like most cancers, there is not ultimate cause to pancreatic cancer, only a couple carcinogens that can cause this. Chronic pain in your lower abdomen or back is usually the first sign of pancreatic cancer. Jaundice, loss of appetite, sudden weight loss, and digestive problems tend to be other common symptoms. This type of cancer is usually detected late and has a typically negative prognosis.

What is the cause of pancreatic cancer?

A protein called K-Ras is what is mutated in the majority of cancer cases, along with Pancreatic cancer. The K-Ras protein is what lines the pancreas, and controls what information is passed along to the cells. Under normal conditions, the K-Ras protein responds to other cell's receptors, and conveys information from the pancreas to other cells and vice versa. When the K-Ras protein is mutated, cells keep filling into the pancreas, and the overwhelming amount of cells is what causes tumors inside the pancreas.

How is information transferred in the pancreas?

The way that cells pass or misinterpret information in the pancreas is through Paracrine Local signaling. This is where the cell produces a signal that induces a change in a nearby cell. In this case, the mutated protein allows in growth cells into the pancreas.

Direction of research in Pancreatic Cancer

Research in this disease is focused more on treatments for the disease rather than prevention. Improving surgeries to remove the cancerous cells and bettering radiation therapy are what doctors have been studying recently.