Dr. Anirban Maitra, MBBS
- Pancreatic Cancer Research
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the third most common cause of cancer related mortality in the United States. The five-year survival rate for this disease is only 8%, which makes it one of the most challenging of solid tumors to diagnose and treat. Complete surgical removal of the tumor remains the only chance for longer term survival, however 80-90% of patients have disease that is surgically incurable at the time of clinical presentation.
Our translational pancreatic cancer research can be summarized into the following broad categories:
(i) Functional annotation of the pancreatic cancer genome, through development of animal models that recapitulate the cognate human disease. Particular areas of pancreatic cancer research focus are epigenetic drivers in this cancer (collaboration with Sonal Gupta, Ph.D.), and genes involved in pancreatic cystic neoplasms, which are bona fide precursors to invasive cancer.
(ii) Implementing a comprehensive liquid biopsy program for early detection, therapeutic stratification and disease monitoring in pancreatic cancer. The elements of liquid biopsies include cell free DNA, cancer-specific exosomes and circulating tumor cells (CTCs).We are developing innovative microfluidics-based platforms from the ground up to perform a "one-stop" liquid biopsy in cancer.
(iii) Understanding the recalcitrance to immunotherapy in pancreatic cancer, using biologically relevant animal models and human biospecimens. These pancreatic cancer research studies include extensive collaboration with members of the Pancreatic Cancer Moon Shot team, which Anirban Maitra, M.B.B.S. co-leads at MD Anderson.