SU2C-Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Dream Team: Transforming Pancreatic Cancer to a Treatable Disease


Elizabeth M. Jaffee, MD, FAACR

Elizabeth M. Jaffee, MD, FAACR
Deputy Director, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins


Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil

Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil
Director, Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania; Hanna Wise Professor in Cancer Research, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine


 Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is resistant to most forms of therapy and is one of the most deadly types of cancer. The environment that surrounds cancer cells is referred to as the tumor microenvironment. Studies in mice and humans have shown that the PDA tumor microenvironment has unique characteristics that are thought to limit the efficacy of treatment. 

The Team set out to examine the hypothesis that the PDA tumor microenvironment can be reprogrammed to make it more conducive to the tumor-killing activity of the immune system. 

Progress to Date 

The Team's clinical trials are focused on new ways to reverse immune suppression in the tumor, either in combination with a vaccine that activates anti-cancer T cells or with chemotherapy. Laboratory studies in mice have also been conducted to establish novel multi-agent approaches and to develop biomarkers that will drive the next generation of clinical trials. 

Amount Of Funding:

$8 million


​Margaret A. Tempero, MD, University of California, San Francisco
Lisa M. Coussens, PhD, Oregon Health & Science University
David C. Linehan, MD, Washington University in St. Louis
Dafna Bar-Sagi, PhD, NYU Langone Medical Center
Irving L. Weissman, MD, Stanford University
Douglas T. Fearon, MD, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
Steven D. Leach, MD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center


​Betty Booher
Stuart Rickerson
Richard Vague