Pancreatic adenocarcinoma is a highly aggressive cancer responsible for many deaths in the world every year. The diagnosis is often established at an advanced stage so that less than 20% of the patients diagnosed with the disease are suitable candidates for surgical resection. Pancreatic cancer is usually highly resistant to chemotherapy and radiotherapy and displays high propensity to metastasize even when small. The failure of present anticancer treatments to cure this type of cancer indicates that new strategies need to be explored. One possibility would be to target the mechanisms by which cancer cells escape apoptosis. Protein kinase CK2 is a ubiquitous constitutively active enzyme, which has been associated with the malignant transformation of several tissues and aggressive tumor behavior. Mounting evidence suggests a role for CK2 in the protection of cells from apoptosis via the regulation of key molecules operating in pathways involved in proliferation and survival. Our goal is to demonstrate that CK2 is a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. Our research plan aims to establish the contribution of CK2 in the promotion of pancreatic cancer development and verify that inhibition or down-regulation of CK2 would decrease the resistance of pancreatic cancer cells to apoptosis. The possibility to set up a combination therapy based on chemotherapeutic drugs and small molecules (i.e. inhibitors, siRNAs) which target specific protein kinases, may prove to be highly beneficial for cancer patients and in general for the whole society.
|Effective start/end date||01/01/2010 → 31/12/2011|