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What is the culprit behind inflammation-related pancreatic cancer?|
Date: 2013-08-05 13:36:53
Chronic inflammation is known to lead to pancreatic cancer, but until now the reasoning has been unclear. A team from the Mayo Clinic in Florida has discovered the origin of inflammation-driven pancreatic cancer, a finding that may help physicians diagnose people at high risk for the disease.
The report revealed how inflammation forces cells that produce digestive enzymes, known as acinar cells, into the pancreas to form duct-like cells. Through lab testing, researchers were able to see that while the cells are transforming, they sometimes become mutated and further progress to become pancreatic cancer.
"We don't know why these cells reprogram themselves, but it may be because producing enzymes in an organ that is injured due to inflammation may cause more damage," said Peter Storz, senior author of the study. "The good news, however, is that this process is reversible, and we identified a number of molecules involved in this pathway that might be targeted to help push these new duct-like cells back into acinar cells, thus eliminating the risk of cancer development."
The team is now looking into existing medications to reverse the process and is testing the effects that they have on the cellular transformation.
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