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Using cervical cancer as a model system to identify prognostic markers, our group has discovered by mass spectrometry and validated by immunohistochemistry, that keratin 17 (K17) is more accurate than clinicopathologic assessment to predict patient survival.


Although K17 was previously known to provide mechanical support in normal epithelial cells, we found that K17 also has oncogenic functions, not only in cervical cancer, but also in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). To identify the molecular mechanisms through which K17 controls fundamental aspects of tumor cell biology and thus, is a rational target for therapeutic intervention in PDAC, we assembled an inter-institutional team of investigators that have tremendous experience with orthotopic and transgenic mouse models of pancreatic cancer, the development of PDAC organoid cultures and patient-derived xenografts, and RNA-Seq data analysis and predictive modeling.

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