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New link to pancreatic cancer

By Tim Sandle     Aug 9, 2013 in Health
Researchers have shown, for the first time, the process by which chronic inflammation of the pancreas morphs into pancreatic cancer. The findings could point to new ways to identify pancreatitis patients at risk of pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic cancer is a malignant event originating from transformed cells arising in tissues forming the pancreas. It is thought that certain types of inflammation can trigger certain cells to change shape and to become cancerous.
The new link has been revealed by researchers based at Mayo Clinic in Florida, according to Medical Express, where the process by which chronic inflammation of the pancreas (termed pancreatitis) can sometimes transform into pancreatic cancer.
The mechanism that has been found is one where an inflammation in the pancreas pushes a certain type of cell, called acinar cells (cells that produce digestive enzymes), to transform into duct-like cells. As these cells change, they can acquire mutations that can result in further progression to pancreatic cancer.
Now that the connection between the cancer and the 'morphing' cells has been shown, the researchers hope that the process is reversible. For the next phase of their research, the scientists aim to test the ability of drugs already on the market to reverse this cellular transformation in the pancreas in mice models of human pancreatic cancer.
The research was led by Peter Storz, Ph.D and the findings have been published in the Journal of Cell Biology.
More about Pancreatic cancer, Cancer, inflammation of the pancreas, pancreatitis
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