Pancreatic cancer is an extremely lethal malignancy. On average, patients who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer succumb to the disease within 6 months. Research is the only way to defeat pancreatic cancer. My lab is making progress toward finding a cure by detecting the disease earlier and designing novel therapeutic approaches.
David Tuveson’s laboratory uses murine and human models of pancreatic cancer to explore the fundamental biology of malignancy and thereby identify new diagnostic and treatment strategies. The lab’s approaches run the gamut from designing new model systems of disease to developing new therapeutic and diagnostic approaches for rapid evaluation in preclinical and clinical settings. The lab’s studies make use of organoid cultures—three-dimensional cultures of normal or cancerous epithelia—as ex vivo models to probe cancer biology. Current projects in the lab explore changes in redox metabolism associated with pancreatic cancer tumorigenesis, dissect signaling by the Ras oncogene, discover new biomarkers of early pancreas cancer, and identify mechanisms of cross-talk between pancreatic cancer cells and the tumor stroma. Novel treatment approaches suggested by these studies are then tested by performing therapeutic experiments in mouse models. To dissect molecular changes associated with pancreatic tumorigenesis, the Tuveson lab has generated a large collection of human patient-derived organoid models. By measuring the therapeutic sensitivities of patient-derived organoids, the lab is working to identify novel strategies to treat patients as well as markers of therapeutic response. The Tuveson Laboratory maintains strong links to clinical research, and the ultimate goal is confirmation of preclinical findings in early-phase trials. Collectively, the lab’s bench-to-bedside approach is codified as the “Cancer Therapeutics Initiative,” and this initiative will provide these same approaches to the entire CSHL cancer community.
Dr. Tuveson serves as Director of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Cancer Center and the Chief Scientist for the Lustgarten Foundation.
Cancer cell’s “self eating” tactic may be its weakness
July 1, 2019
Cold Spring Harbor, NY — Cancer cells use a bizarre strategy to reproduce in a tumor’s low-energy environment; they mutilate their own mitochondria! Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) also know how this occurs, offering a promising new target for pancreatic cancer therapies. Why would a cancer cell want to destroy its own functioning...
Sugars that coat proteins are a possible drug target for pancreatitis
June 20, 2019
Cold Spring Harbor, NY — Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that accounts for 275,000 hospitalizations in the United States annually. Patients who suffer from hereditary pancreatitis have a 40 to 50 percent lifetime risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Dannielle Engle, a former Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) Cancer Center postdoctoral fellow who was...
Special fibroblasts help pancreatic cancer cells evade immune detection
June 13, 2019
Cold Spring Harbor, NY — Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the world. Mostly chemoresistant, PDAC so far has no effective treatment. Understanding the connective tissue, called stroma, that surrounds, nurtures, and even protects PDAC tumors, is key to developing effective therapeutics. “PDAC patients are diagnosed really late,...
Fighting cancer in 3D
June 7, 2019
Studying cancer isn’t easy. Mouse models are expensive, biopsies can be inexact, and human cancer patients are (thankfully) in limited supply. So how can researchers make effective and efficient progress? The technology known as “organoids” is one promising answer. Organoids are spheres of cells cultured from the tumors of cancer patients. They’re what experts call...
Yacht race raises $6,500 for cancer research
November 29, 2018
Members of the Masthead Cove Yacht Club (MCYC) raised $6,500 from their annual Masthead Race on August 12, 2018. The money will go to fund research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL). At this year’s race, Dr. Fieke Froeling, a translational fellow in CSHL Cancer Center Director David Tuveson’s lab, spoke about her work. Later,...
Turning cells against pancreatic cancer
October 26, 2018
Cold Spring Harbor, NY — Pancreatic cancer has a grim prognosis. It is usually detected after the disease has spread, and chemotherapy tends to do little to slow the cancer’s growth. Even with treatment, most patients live only about six months after they are diagnosed with the disease. Researchers in Professor David Tuveson’s laboratory at...
Nation’s cancer centers endorse HPV vaccination
June 8, 2018
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory joins NCI-designated cancer centers in endorsing the goal of eliminating HPV-related cancers Bruce Stillman, Ph.D., President and CEO of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and David Tuveson, M.D., Ph.D., Director of CSHL’s NCI-designated Cancer Center, today joined with the leaders of other institutions nationwide in endorsing the following statement regarding revised recommendations...
Organoid profiling personalizes treatments for pancreatic cancer
May 31, 2018
A new tool to select the treatments most likely to work in specific patients Cold Spring Harbor, NY — Patient-derived organoids, hollow spheres of cells cultured from tumors, can quickly and accurately predict how patients with pancreatic cancer respond to a variety of treatments, facilitating a precision-medicine approach to the deadly disease. The ability to...
David Tuveson elected to the AACR Board of Directors
April 13, 2018
Pancreatic cancer is a disease that takes the lives of over 40,000 Americans a year, one that CSHL Professor Dr. David Tuveson has spent his career studying. His extensive work identifying new diagnostic and treatment strategies for this highly lethal cancer has been honored by the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR), which has named...
Halfway around the world, a reunion of friends opens door to a cancer discovery
August 31, 2017
fter interviewing for a position in a pancreatic cancer lab at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 7,000 miles from his hometown in South Korea, Chang-il Hwang did what many of us would: he posted about it on Facebook. Little did he know that he was rekindling a friendship that would pave the way to a long-sought...
Jacobetz, M. A. and Chan, D. S. and Neesse, A. and Bapiro, T. E. and Cook, N. and Frese, K. K. and Feig, C. and Nakagawa, T. and Caldwell, M. E. and Zecchini, H. I. and Lolkema, M. P. and Jiang, P. and Kultti, A. and Thompson, C. B. and Maneval, D. C. and Jodrell, D. I. and Frost, G. I. and Shepard, H. M. and Skepper, J. N. and Tuveson, D. A. (2013) Hyaluronan impairs vascular function and drug delivery in a mouse model of pancreatic cancer. Gut, 62(1) pp. 112-20.
Perez-Mancera, P. A. and Rust, A. G. and van der Weyden, L. and Kristiansen, G. and Li, A. and Sarver, A. L. and Silverstein, K. A. and Grutzmann, R. and Aust, D. and Rummele, P. and Knosel, T. and Herd, C. and Stemple, D. L. and Kettleborough, R. and Brosnan, J. A. and Li, A. and Morgan, R. and Knight, S. and Yu, J. and Stegeman, S. and Collier, L. S. and ten Hoeve, J. J. and de Ridder, J. and Klein, A. P. and Goggins, M. and Hruban, R. H. and Chang, D. K. and Biankin, A. V. and Grimmond, S. M. and Wessels, L. F. and Wood, S. A. and Iacobuzio-Donahue, C. A. and Pilarsky, C. and Largaespada, D. A. and Adams, D. J. and Tuveson, D. A. (2012) The deubiquitinase USP9X suppresses pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Nature, 486(7402) pp. 266-70.
Cook, N. and Frese, K. K. and Bapiro, T. E. and Jacobetz, M. A. and Gopinathan, A. and Miller, J. L. and Rao, S. S. and Demuth, T. and Howat, W. J. and Jodrell, D. I. and Tuveson, D. A. (2012) Gamma secretase inhibition promotes hypoxic necrosis in mouse pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. J Exp Med, 209(3) pp. 437-44.
Frese, K. K. and Neesse, A. and Cook, N. and Bapiro, T. E. and Lolkema, M. P. and Jodrell, D. I. and Tuveson, D. A. (2012) nab-Paclitaxel potentiates gemcitabine activity by reducing cytidine deaminase levels in a mouse model of pancreatic cancer. Cancer Discov, 2(3) pp. 260-9.
DeNicola, G. M. and Karreth, F. A. and Humpton, T. J. and Gopinathan, A. and Wei, C. and Frese, K. and Mangal, D. and Yu, K. H. and Yeo, C. J. and Calhoun, E. S. and Scrimieri, F. and Winter, J. M. and Hruban, R. H. and Iacobuzio-Donahue, C. and Kern, S. E. and Blair, I. A. and Tuveson, D. A. (2011) Oncogene-induced Nrf2 transcription promotes ROS detoxification and tumorigenesis. Nature, 475(7354) pp. 106-9.Additional materials of the author at
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