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NCI Cancer Center News

UNC research probes how pancreatic cancers metastasize

  • Posted: March 26, 2013

Researchers at the University of North Carolina and the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at Chapel Hill have discovered that a protein found in the cells surrounding pancreatic cancers plays a role in the spread of the disease to other parts of the body. In a finding published in the March 25 issue of Oncogene, researchers found that the protein palladin enhances the ability of cancer-associated fibroblasts to assemble organelles known as invadopodia to break down the barriers between cells and create pathways for tumors to spread throughout the body.

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NCI comprehensive cancer centers logoAmong the research institutions NCI funds across the United States, it currently designates 67 as Cancer Centers. Largely based in research universities, these facilities are home to many of the NCI-supported scientists who conduct a wide range of intense, laboratory research into cancer’s origins and development. The Cancer Centers Program also focuses on trans-disciplinary research, including population science and clinical research. The centers’ research results are often at the forefront of studies in the cancer field.