Algül, Hana

Immune system and microenvironment in pancreatic cancer and pancreatitis

Our group is engaged in studies exploring the influence of inflammatory signaling pathways on the pathogenesis and progression of pancreatic diseases. The current focuses of our interest is centered around the signaling pathways NF-κB/Rel and IL-6/gp130/STAT3, which are analyzed in animal models of acute and chronic pancreatitis as well as pancreatic carcinoma.
The aim of our group is to clarify issues with clinical impact using a basic research approach. Mouse models recapitulating major mechanisms of human pancreatic diseases play an important role in our work. With the aid of the Cre-lox technology we investigate the influence of several endogenous factors in these animal models. This genetic methodology allows analyzing the influence of a certain protein on the pathogenesis of pancreatic diseases by inducing organ specific genetic modifications within the pancreas.

Acute pancreatitis:
Besides our interest in investigating pathogenetic mechanisms of acute pancreatitis, factors predisposing the course and complications of acute pancreatitis are of special interest in our research work.

Chronic pancreatitis:
Another focus of our group is the role of NF-κB/Rel on the course of chronic pancreatitis and fibrogenesis. Besides that, the influence of chronic inflammation on pancreatic carcinogenesis will be analyzed.

Pancreatic carcinoma:
The influence of NF-κB/Rel and the IL-6/gp130/STAT3 pathway on the development of precancerous lesions and carcinomas are being investigated in two well-characterized models of pancreatic carcinoma.