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Defining a new role for JNK signalling in acinar plasticity

Recipient: Dr Cathy Tournier

Host Institution: University of Manchester

Title: Defining a new role for JNK signalling in acinar plasticity

Type of award: 2014 Research Innovation Fund

Funding: £74,807

Cancer is a disease caused by normal cells changing so that they grow in an uncontrolled manner. It was found that this abnormal behaviour is made possible in the pancreas because certain cells can turn back in time towards a less mature state. These immature cells become insensitive to signals emitted from their mature neighbours and are capable of reproducing rapidly and almost indefinitely, ultimately destroying the normal function of the pancreas. Recently, we have found a possible means by which pancreatic cells can escape maturity. This project is to dissect this mechanism using cell culture models of pancreatic cancer. Our long term objective will be to use the information gained by the successful achievement of this collaborative study to design tools that will enable us to reset the time forward and thereby mitigate aggressive cancer cell behaviour in the pancreas.