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Gastric differentiation in the transition to cancer

A common feature of many epithelial cancers is loss of lineage specification, wherein cells revert to a progenitor or 'stem-like' state and fail to remain terminally differentiated. The situation is no different in pancreatic cancer, where it has long been understood that the pre-neoplastic cell also expresses several foregut genes - several of which are found normally in the stomach.

Employing a combination of organoid and in vivo models, we are currently characterizing these features of gastric differentiation in pancreatic cancer and their importance to tumor biology.