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Exploring the effect of PAK inhibition in a 3D Pancreatic Cancer invasion model
* 1 , 2 , 1
1  School of Cancer and Pharmaceutical Sciences, King’s College London
2  Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London UK, King’s College London, UK
Academic Editor: Alexander E. Kalyuzhny


Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is an aggressive cancer, with over half of patients presenting with metastatic PDAC at diagnosis. Most patients receive conventional chemotherapy which invariably faces resistance, and a key facilitator in this is the PDAC stroma which acts as a functional mediator of disease progression through bilateral crosstalk between stromal cells and cancer cells. ‘Migrastatics’ are a new drug class which target cell migration pathway effector proteins to attenuate cancer cell invasion. Improvement in PDAC treatment strategy is well-overdue and migrastatics as adjuvant therapy is one avenue gaining traction. The p21-activated kinase (PAK) family is frequently overexpressed and/or amplified in PDAC where it regulates cytoskeletal actin contractility as well as transcription. Pre-clinical PAK inhibitors have shown reduced 3D PDAC cell invasion in vitro, yet it is unknown how the PDAC stroma would respond to a PAK inhibitor and how this could affect PDAC invasion. My PhD project investigates the stellate cells response to PAK inhibition.

Keywords: Pancreatic cancer, tumour microenvironment, cell invasion, 3D in vitro assay, p21-activated kinases