CA19-9 is a complex sugar structure that coats proteins. Elevated levels of CA19-9 were found to cause inflammation in the pancreas in mice and promote rapid progression to pancreatic cancer. By neutralizing the functions of CA19-9 with antibodies, researchers were able to reduce and even prevent pancreatic damage in animal models. Former CSHL Tuveson lab member Dani Engle (now Assistant Professor, Salk Institute) explains.
Read the related story: Sugars that coat proteins are a possible drug target for pancreatitis