Reprogramming of Pancreatic Cancer Dream Team - Stand Up To Cancer

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SU2C–Cancer Research UK–Lustgarten Foundation
Pancreatic Cancer Dream Team:
Reprogramming of Transcriptional Circuitry
to Control Pancreatic Cancer

Grant Term: January 2016–June 2020

The SU2C–Cancer Research UK (CRUK)–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Dream Team is working to improve survival of pancreatic cancer patients, with a goal of at least doubling the one-year survival rate in advanced pancreatic cancer from 35% to more than 70%. The team also aims to maintain remission in patients who have responded to treatment, extending and enhancing the lives of people with this disease.

Supported by:


The SU2C–CRUK–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Dream Team’s approach is rooted in the idea that pancreatic cancers are, in essence, “wounds” that never heal.

Research by members of this Dream Team, and others in the field, has uncovered gene networks in tumors that are similar to those in injured tissues, where repair and regenerative mechanisms are essential to restoration of normal function. Unlike the normal system of wound-healing, which has a shut-off mechanism, in tumors the process remains active, “hijacked” to constantly drive growth. The team believes that the biological machinery involved is controlled through hot spots in a cell’s DNA called super enhancers (SE), which control not only the cancer cell but also surrounding noncancerous cells on which the cancer cells rely for support.

The SU2C–CRUK–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Dream Team is working to develop new approaches to reset malfunctioning SEs in pancreatic tumors, thereby increasing the sensitivity to chemotherapy and to anticancer immune cells and pushing pancreatic tumors into lasting remission.

This Dream Team is part of the Pancreatic Cancer Collective portfolio of research.


The top scientists and researchers on the SU2C–CRUK–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Dream Team come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, which leads them to great insights upon collaboration. Learn more about the SU2C–CRUK–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Dream Team.

Dream Team Members

Daniel D. Von Hoff, MD
Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), an affiliate of City of Hope

Gerard I. Evan, PhD
University of Cambridge

Ronald M. Evans, PhD
Salk Research Institute for Biological Studies

Joshua D. Rabinowitz, MD, PhD
Princeton University
Principal Investigator

David Propper, MD
St. Bartholomew’s Hospital
Investigator and Advocate

Suzanne Berenger
Bain & Company, Inc.

Howard Young
Chairman, Destroy Pancreatic Cancer

Jatan Clark, MBA
Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), an affiliate of City of Hope
Project Manager

“We are going after pancreatic cancer in a different way. We will use new and existing agents to reprogram the master regulatory biological machinery in cancer cells that drives tumor growth. This machinery comprises molecular complexes of DNA and proteins that are known as ‘super enhancers’ for their ability to coordinate the expression of a large number of genes.”

Daniel D. Von Hoff, MD, FACP
Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), an affiliate of City of Hope


Stand Up To Cancer’s research projects are designed to foster collaborative, swift translational research. The hallmarks of these efforts include rigorous application and selection procedures, sufficient funding to allow scientists to focus on the objectives of the grant, and reviews by senior scientists every six months. These reviews help the investigators capitalize on the latest findings, address potential roadblocks, and collaboratively evolve as the science requires. Please click below to see summaries of research results so far for the SU2C–CRUK–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Dream Team.



Stress-Activated NRF2-MDM2 Cascade Controls Neoplastic Progression in Pancreas
Todoric J, Antonucci L, Goggins M, et al. (2017)
Cancer Cell 32:824-839.
Glucose Feeds the TCA Cycle via Circulating Lactate
Hui S, White E, Rabinowitz JD, et al. (2017)
Nature 551:115-118.
Re-Engineering the Pancreas Tumor Microenvironment: “A Regenerative Program” Hacked
Evan GI, Hah N, Evans RM, et al. (2017)
Clinical Cancer Research 23:1647-1655.
Mitochondrial Translation Requires Folate-Dependent tRNA Methylation
Morscher RJ, Ducker GS, Li SH, et al (2018)
Nature. 554(7690):128-132.
Stem Cell Fate in Cancer Growth, Progression and Therapy Resistance
Morscher RJ, Ducker GS, Li SH, et al (2018)
Nature. 554(7690):128-132.
Four Key Steps Control Glycolytic Flux in Mammalian Cells
Tanner LB, Goglia AG, Wei MH, et al (2018)
Cell Syst. 7(1):49-62.e8.
See MoreLess Publications


Cancer clinical trials allow researchers to study innovative and potentially life-saving new treatments. The goal is to find treatments that are better than what’s currently available, in fact the therapies offered to today’s cancer patients were almost all studied and made possible by people participating in clinical trials. But many cancer clinical trials don’t get completed because not enough people participate.

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