Selective manipulation of tumour-stroma signalling as a novel precision medicine approach: targeting treatment resistance in pancreatic cancer 

Pancreatic Cancer

Associate Professor Marina Pajic

The Garvan Institute of Medical Research, University of New South Wales


2023 - 2025


Pancreatic cancer is the third most common cause of cancer death in Australia, with only around 12% of those diagnosed surviving for five years or longer. One key reason for the poor prognosis is that there is no ‘one-size fits all’ treatment that works because there are many subtypes of the cancer, each with their own molecular ‘fingerprint’. Another significant challenge for pancreatic cancer treatment is getting past the ‘stromal cells’ which form a fibrous scar tissue-like barrier around the tumour and protect it from chemotherapy. Personalised treatment approaches are urgently needed to improve survival and quality of life outcomes.

The Research

Associate Professor Marina Pajic and her team have identified a molecular pathway that controls communication between pancreatic cancer cells and stromal cells. This pathway is overactive in over a third of pancreatic cancers, driving the development of the fibrous scar tissue and protecting the tumour from the effects of chemotherapy. In this project, Associate Professor Pajic and her team will test different strategies for targeting this pathway in combination with chemotherapy, stopping the communication between the cancer and stromal cells, and disabling pancreatic cancer defences.

The Impact

Pancreatic cancer is a devastating disease. If their pre-clinical testing is successful, Associate Professor Pajic and her team will be a step closer to trialling a much-needed new personalised treatment approach for pancreatic cancer with the potential to significantly improve treatment outcomes for more than a third of patients.


Similar research

No items found.