CRI Funded Scientists

Samantha B Kemp, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

University of Pennsylvania

Area of Research: Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a lethal disease with a five-year survival rate of only 10%. There are few effective treatments for PDAC patients, and the majority of patients will succumb to metastatic disease. One reason for this poor survival outcome is that PDAC tumors are comprised of a large tumor microenvironment that consists of immune cells, cancer-associated fibroblasts, and extracellular matrix components. This immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment contributes to the poor patient outcomes due to the exclusion of anti-tumor T cells in the tumor. While there has been recent success of immunotherapy in other solid tumors through activation of the immune system, this success has not extended to PDAC. Dr. Kemp’s proposal aims to examine mechanisms that prevent T cells from migrating out of the vasculature, with the goal of identifying novel targets to enhance tumoral T cell infiltration and T cell activation, resulting in enhanced patient survival. Additionally, her proposal will examine immune-mediated mechanisms behind PDAC metastasis, which will allow for the discovery of novel therapeutic interventions to reduce metastatic disease. Current in vivo and in vitro models do not allow for proper evaluation of such questions. 

Her proposed research utilizes a novel and innovative, cancer-on-a-chip platform to allow for the study of the complex interactions in the tumor microenvirionment. The cancer-on-a-chip platform is additionally a high-throughput device, which will allow experiments to be run in parallel ultimately allowing for quick translation 

Projects and Grants

Using a cancer-on-a-chip approach to study the pancreatic cancer tumor microenvironment

Albert Einstein College of Medicine | Pancreatic Cancer | 2022 | Ben Stanger, M.D., Ph.D.

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