A Dish of Pancreas

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Science  26 Jul 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6144, pp. 319
DOI: 10.1126/science.341.6144.319-a

Many cell lines of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have been generated from tissue taken from patients with various medical conditions. The aim has been to use these as model systems (“disease in a dish”) to study the biology of pathogenesis; as the iPSCs differentiate, cellular phenotypes characteristic of the early stages of the disease can reappear. At present, the prognosis of individuals with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is poor, with a survival rate of less than 5%, and early diagnosis is rarely achievable. Furthermore, the available mouse and human cell models do not recapitulate the early stages of progression of this cancer. Kim et al. have now generated an iPSC line from a late-stage human pancreatic cancer. The cells resemble the human cancer cells in morphology and histology, and when these cells were injected into immunodeficient mice, pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia lesions progressed to invasive PDAC. An analysis of these cells identified proteins that are secreted or released, as well as networks, such as TGFβ1 and integrin signaling. In particular, the HNF4A pathway is specific for early to intermediate stages of progression.

Cell Reports 3, 10.1016/j.celrep.2013.05.036 (201 3).

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