Jennifer Bailey, PhD, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network grantee

What cells actually become pancreatic cancer?

Jennifer Bailey, PhD

Jennifer Bailey, PhD

To help answer this question, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network awarded Jennifer Bailey, PhD, a Pathway to Leadership award in 2011.

Bailey’s project, called “Stop the Start,” focuses on pinpointing the very earliest events that cause normal pancreas cells to become cancerous and identifying the genetic alterations responsible. Importantly, her work successfully challenged and uprooted a long-held dogma in the field that pancreatic “ductal” adenocarcinoma only came from ductal cells. We now know that this is not true thanks to Bailey’s groundbreaking research that has been detailed in several leading publications – she found that cancer can arise from acinar cells in the pancreas, too.

Understanding the biology of the normal cells within the pancreas helps identify which genetic changes take place to allow transformation into cancer cells – and each of those changes represents a potential drug target or a marker that could improve early detection. Bailey received this grant as a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University, and she has now been promoted to an independent investigator at University of Texas Health Science Center.

Did you know?

  • Since 2003, we’ve awarded over $35 million through a competitive peer-reviewed process -- including 142 grants to 143 researchers at 55 institutions across the country.
  • Over our first decade of funding research, we supported 92 grantees who went on to publish 1,191 articles in peer-reviewed journals, cited more than 13,000 times. These grantees have leveraged each $1 from us to gain $8.28 in subsequent pancreatic cancer research funding.
  • New grantees will be announced in the summer of 2017. New grant opportunities open in fall of 2017.

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