Transforming Pancreatic Cancer Dream Team - Stand Up To Cancer

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

Grant Term: July 2014–June 2022

The SU2C–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Dream Team is focused on pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA), one of the deadliest types of cancer. This team is working to understand the barriers to treatment that this type of cancer presents, in order to develop new therapies that will effectively treat it.

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Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is resistant to most forms of therapy and is one of the deadliest types of cancer. Studies in mice and humans have shown that the environment surrounding a PDA tumor, called the microenvironment, has unique characteristics that are thought to limit the efficacy of treatment.

The SU2C–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Dream Team uses a “convergence” approach, in which leading individuals in different scientific fields work together toward understanding and treating PDA.

The Dream Team has been conducting numerous clinical trials using combinations of drugs and is gaining insight as to which molecules can be measured as indicators, or biomarkers, of tumor microenvironment reprogramming. The team’s trials are focusing on new ways to reverse immune suppression in the tumor, either in combination with a vaccine that activates anticancer immune cells called T cells, or in combination with chemotherapy. These trials are also contributing to the establishment of a national PDA biobank for identification of immune biomarkers.

This Dream Team is also part of the Pancreatic Cancer Collective portfolio of research.


The top scientists and researchers on the SU2C–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Dream Team come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, which leads them to great insights upon collaboration. Learn more about the SU2C–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Dream Team.

Dream Team Members

Elizabeth M. Jaffee, MD
Johns Hopkins University

Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil
Abramson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania

Dafna Bar-Sagi, PhD
New York University Langone Medical Center
Principal Investigator

Lisa M. Coussens, PhD
Oregon Health & Science University
Principal Investigator

Douglas T. Fearon, MD
University of Cambridge, UK
Principal Investigator

Steven D. Leach, MD
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Principal Investigator

David C. Linehan, MD
Washington University in St. Louis
Principal Investigator

Margaret A. Tempero, MD
University of California, San Francisco
Principal Investigator

Irving L. Weissman, MD
Stanford University
Principal Investigator

Betty Booher
Oregon Health & Science University

Stuart Rickerson
University of California, San Francisco

Andy Friesner
Johns Hopkins University
Project Manager

Stephanie Porter
Johns Hopkins University
Project Manager

“We intend to convert the immune-suppressive environment of the tumor into one that fosters rejection of the tumor by the immune system.”

Elizabeth M. Jaffee, MD
Johns Hopkins University


Stand Up To Cancer’s research projects are designed to foster collaborative, swift translational research. The hallmarks of these efforts include rigorous application and selection procedures, sufficient funding to allow scientists to focus on the objectives of the grant, and reviews by senior scientists every six months. These reviews help the investigators capitalize on the latest findings, address potential roadblocks, and collaboratively evolve as the science requires. Please click below to see summaries of research results so far for the SU2C–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Dream Team.



Temporally Distinct PD-L1 Expression by Tumor and Host Cells Contributes to Immune Escape
Noguchi T, Ward JP, Gubin MM, et al. (2017)
Cancer Immunology Research 5:1-12.
Pancreatic Cancer: Next-Generation Algorithms for Neoantigen Selection
Hopkins A, Jaffee, EM (2018)
Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 15(3):135-136.
Tumor Mutational Burden and Response Rate to PD-1 Inhibition
Yarchoan M, Hopkins A, Jaffee EM (2017)
N Engl J Med. 377(25):2500-2501.
Gut Microbiome Modulates Response to Anti-PD-1 Immunotherapy in Melanoma Patients
Gopalakrishnan V, Spencer C, Nezi L, et al (2018)
Science. 359(6371):97-103.
Understanding the Tumor Immune Microenvironment (TIME) for Effective Therapy
Binnewies M, Roberts EW, Kersten K, et al (2018)
Nat Med. 24(5):541-550.
Complement C5a Fosters Squamous Carcinogenesis and Limits T Cell Response to Chemotherapy
Medler TR, Murugan D, Horton W, et al (2018)
Cancer Cell. 34(4):561-578.e6.
B Cells as Biomarkers: Predicting Immune Checkpoint Therapy Adverse Events
Liudahl SM, Coussens LM (2018)
J Clin Invest. 128(2):577-579.
See MoreLess Publications


Cancer clinical trials allow researchers to study innovative and potentially life-saving new treatments. The goal is to find treatments that are better than what’s currently available; in fact, the therapies offered to today’s cancer patients were almost all studied and made possible by people participating in clinical trials. But many cancer clinical trials aren’t completed because not enough people take part.

At, you’ll find clinical trial information, answers to common questions, and a free clinical trial finder tool.



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