Volume 2.03 | Jan 25

Pancreatic Cell News 2.03, January 25, 2011.

TOP STORY 

Genetic Code Deciphered for Form of Pancreatic Cancer  ShareThis
Scientists have deciphered the genetic code for a type of pancreatic cancer called neuroendocrine or islet cell tumors. The work shows that patients whose tumors have certain coding “mistakes” live twice as long as those without them. [Press release from Johns Hopkins Medicine discussing online prepublication in Science]

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SPECIAL FEATURES
 


A Very Sad Loss – Stem Cell Pioneer Ernest A. McCulloch Passes Away
It is with great sadness that scientists honor the life and extraordinary contributions of Dr. Ernest “Bun” McCulloch who passed away on Wednesday, January 19th, 2011. Dr. McCulloch, along with his close friend and colleague, Dr. James Till, was a pioneer in the field of stem cell research. [Canadian Stem Cell Foundation Press Release]

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SCIENCE NEWS

Roundworm Unlocks Pancreatic Cancer Pathway
A team of researchers took a step back to a simpler organism — a common roundworm — and made a discovery about how the Ras oncogene chooses a signaling pathway and how the consequences of that choice play out in cellular development — a key issue in cancer, which is characterized by uncontrolled cell growth. [Press release from University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center discussing online prepublication in Developmental Cell]

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CURRENT PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by Impact Factor of the Journal)

DIABETES

SUMOylation Regulates Insulin Exocytosis Downstream of Secretory Granule Docking in Rodents and Humans
SUMOylation acutely regulates insulin secretion by the direct and reversible inhibition of beta cell exocytosis in response to intracellular Ca2+ elevation. [Diabetes]

Rictor/mTORC2 Is Essential for Maintaining a Balance Between Beta Cell Proliferation and Cell Size
Researchers examined the role of Rictor/mammalian target of rapamycin complex 2 (mTORC2), a key component of the phosphotidylinositol-3-kinase/mTORC2/AKT signaling pathway, in regulating both beta cell mass and function. [Diabetes]

The Glucose-Lowering Potential of Exendin-4 Orally Delivered via a pH-Sensitive Nanoparticle Vehicle and Effects on Subsequent Insulin Secretion In Vivo
Exendin-4 is a potent insulinotropic agent in diabetes patients; however, its therapeutic utility is limited due to the frequent injections required. In this study, an orally available exendin-4 formulation, using an enteric-coated capsule containing pH-responsive NPs, was developed. [Biomaterials]

The Diabetogenic VPS13C/C2CD4A/C2CD4B rs7172432 Variant Impairs Glucose-Stimulated Insulin Response in 5,722 Non-Diabetic Danish Individuals
The diabetogenic VPS13C/C2CD4A/C2CD4B rs7172432 A allele associates with glucose-stimulated insulin response in non-diabetic individuals from the general population, suggesting an impaired beta cell function as an intermediary diabetes-related trait. [Diabetologia]

Visualizing the Role of Cbl-b in Control of Islet-Reactive CD4 T Cells and Susceptibility to Type 1 Diabetes
By tracing the fate of pancreatic islet-reactive CD4+ T cells in prediabetic 3A9-TCR x insHEL double-transgenic mice, researchers found that Cbl-b deficiency contrasts with AIRE or IL-2 deficiency, because it does not affect thymic negative selection of islet-reactive CD4+ cells or the numbers of islet-specific CD4+ or CD4+Foxp3+ T cells in the periphery, although it decreased differentiation of inducible regulatory T cells from TGF-beta-treated 3A9-TCR cells in vitro. [J Immunol]

PANCREATIC CANCER

DAXX/ATRX, MEN1, and mTOR Pathway Genes Are Frequently Altered in Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors
To explore the genetic basis of Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors (PanNETs), researchers determined the exomic sequences of ten nonfamilial PanNETs and then screened the most commonly mutated genes in 58 additional PanNETs. [Science]

Ras Effector Switching Promotes Divergent Cell Fates in C. elegans Vulval Patterning
Observations define the utility of Ras effector switching during normal development and may provide a possible mechanistic basis for cell and cancer-type differences in effector dependency and activation. [Dev Cell]
 
Mutant Proteins as Cancer-Specific Biomarkers
Researchers show here that the altered protein products resulting from somatic mutations can be identified directly and quantified by mass spectrometry. [Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A]

Three-Dimensional Collagen I Promotes Gemcitabine Resistance in Pancreatic Cancer Through MT1-MMP-Mediated Expression of HMGA2
Data show that collagen upregulation of membrane type 1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP) contributes to gemcitabine resistance in vitro and in a xenograft mouse model, and suggest that targeting MT1-MMP could be a novel approach to sensitize pancreatic tumors to gemcitabine. [Cancer Res]

Galectin-3 Regulates MUC1 and EGFR Cellular Distribution and EGFR Downstream Pathways in Pancreatic Cancer Cells
Results showed that galectin-3, an endogenous lectin, is co-expressed with MUC1 in human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, and that it favors the endocytosis of MUC1 and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). [Oncogene]

INDUSTRY NEWS

Online Physician Education Program Outlines Treatment Strategies for Pancreatic Cancer
The American Society of Clinical Oncology and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network announced a partnered effort to educate physicians about treatment strategies for pancreatic cancer. [American Society of Clinical Oncology Press Release]

Oncolytics Biotech® Inc. Announces 2-Arm, Randomized Phase II Pancreatic Cancer Study
Oncolytics Biotech Inc. announced that the Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program, Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis, U.S. National Cancer Institute, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, has agreed to sponsor a 2-Arm randomized Phase II study of carboplatin, paclitaxel plus REOLYSIN® versus carboplatin and paclitaxel alone in the first line treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic pancreatic cancer. [Oncolytics Biotech Inc. Press Release]

FibroGen Reports Interim Results of a Phase I/II Trial of FG-3019 in Locally Advanced or Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer
FibroGen, Inc. announced interim results of a phase I/II trial of FG-3019, a therapeutic antibody against connective tissue growth factor, in combination with gemcitabine and erlotinib in individuals with unresectable pancreatic cancer. [FibroGen, Inc. Press Release]

Threshold Pharmaceuticals’ TH-302 Continues to Demonstrate Promising Activity in Pancreatic Cancer Phase I/II Clinical Trial
Threshold Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced updated Phase I/II clinical trial results related to the Company’s clinical stage hypoxia-activated prodrug, TH-302. [Threshold Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Press Release]

NewLink Genetics to Present Phase II Data of Its HyperAcute® Pancreas Immunotherapy at ASCO 2011 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium
NewLink Genetics Corporation announced that additional data from its Phase II clinical trial of the company’s investigational HyperAcute® Pancreas cancer immunotherapy was presented during a poster session at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2011 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium in San Francisco, California. [PR Newswire]

Data on Neogenix Oncology’s Novel Therapeutic Antibody NPC-1C (Ensituximab) To Be Presented at ASCO’s 2011 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium
Neogenix Oncology announced that Dr. Luis Diaz of The Johns Hopkins University Hospital presented data from Ensituximab, the company’s novel, therapeutic antibody to treat pancreatic and colorectal cancers. [Business Wire]

Mylan Receives Approval for Generic Version of Precose® Tablets
Mylan Inc. announced that its subsidiary Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. has received final approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its Abbreviated New Drug Application for Acarbose Tablets, 25 mg, 50 mg and 100 mg, the generic version of Bayer’s Precose® Tablets, a treatment to be used with diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes. [Mylan Inc. Press Release]

MannKind Corporation Receives Complete Response Letter from the FDA for AFREZZA®
MannKind Corporation announced that it has received a complete response letter from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the New Drug Application for AFREZZA® (insulin human [rDNA origin]) Inhalation Powder for the treatment of adult patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes for the control of hyperglycemia. [MannKind Corporation Press Release]

American Diabetes Association Announces Tamara Darsow, PhD, as New Vice President, Research Programs
The American Diabetes Association announced that Tamara “Mara” Darsow, PhD, has been named the Association’s Vice President of Research Programs. [American Diabetes Association Press Release]

POLICY NEWS

National Institutes of Health (United States)

Food and Drug Administration (United States)
 
Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (United States)

European Medicines Agency (European Union)
 
Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (United Kingdom)

National Health Service (United Kingdom)

Therapeutic Goods Administration (Australia)


EVENTS

NEW 7th Annual Agi Hirshberg Symposium on Pancreatic Cancer Research
February 18, 2011
Los Angeles, United States

Visit
our events page to see a complete list of events in the pancreatic cell community.


JOB OPPORTUNITIES

Lab Technologist – Cell Separation (STEMCELL Technologies)

Lab Technologist – Human Embryonic and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (STEMCELL Technologies)

Lab Technologist – Tissue Culture (STEMCELL Technologies)

Assistant Professor (University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Center for Cellular and Molecular Engineering)

Postdoctoral Scientist (University of Oxford Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences)

Chief, Division of Endocrinology (University of Florida/Shands)

Principal Investigator, Stem Cell Biology and Diabetes (McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine/ University of Toronto)

Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Diabetes/Cardiovascular Disease (Children’s Hospital Boston/Harvard Medical School)

Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Bioinformatics/Computational Biology – Diabetes (Lund University)

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