Pancreatic CancerChristie
Introduction to Pancreatic Cancer:
The pancreas is an organ in the body that is necessary in the digestion and metabolism of food. It is responsible for secreting hormones and enzymes that break down food and direct the metabolism of the nutrients. Because of its role in digestion, the pancreas is made up mostly of ducts and exocrine cells, which hold the enzymes. Pancreatic cancer typically occurs when tumors form in the ducts (NCI, 2013). Among cancers, pancreatic cancer is not a highly prevalent form of cancer diagnosed. A concern lies with the dramatically rising obesity rates as obesity is a risk factor in developing this cancer. Pancreatic cancer often doesn't have many symptoms until it has metastasized to other areas of the body, at that point treatment options become more limited (Mayoclinic, 2013). Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death. Mortality nearly parallels incidence and the median survival time is less than a year, even with max therapy (Cowley et al. 2013). The need to find greater solutions is clearly defined by these statistics.

Certain cells are in charge of sending signals to different parts of the pancreas to let them know when action is needed. Problems with cell signaling in the pancreas is often associated with diabetes. Cell signaling is also important in directing new cell growth. The Slit-Robo gene has been found to be involved in axon guidance and angiogenesis. Axon guidance is basically the development of axons for the nervous system. Angiogenesis is the development of new blood vessels out of other existing blood vessels. This action is significant because once tumors are able to be connected to the blood stream, they can send mutated cell debris all over the body. Research has found that mutations to the Slit-Robo genes appear to be common in the development of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). PDAC is the most common form of pancreatic cancer diagnosed, making this connection important in the focus of treatment (Cowley et al. 2013). Being able to focus research on sophisticated drugs that target this pathological process could greatly benefit pancreatic cancer patients. Pinpointing cellular and gene regulatory networks that govern organ development will help with research being done on tissue replacement (Arda et al. 2013).

The goal of this research project is to find the Slit-Robo signaling genes and proteins and compare the different isoforms to possibly deduce the reason for the mutations that occur in cancer patients.

Slit-Robo Gene
Diagnosis and Treatment
Works Cited