Baoan Ji, M.D., Ph.D., has a long-standing interest in pancreatic research. He focuses on pancreatic inflammation and its role in pancreatic tumorigenesis. He has extensive experience using animal models. Dr. Ji's studies shed new insights into the mechanisms of pancreatic cancer, the fourth-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S.
- Developing more clinically relevant animal models of pancreatic cancer. Current models utilize gene manipulation in embryonic pancreas or pancreatic acinar cells. Cancer developed from these models may differ from that of duct cells, the putative origin of pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Dr. Ji is using genetic approaches to target gene expression specifically in pancreatic duct cells.
- Dissecting Ras signaling in inflammation and cancer. Active KRas gene mutations are found in nearly all pancreatic cancer cells. Dr. Ji has found that increased Ras activity plays an important role in inflammation and tumorigenesis. He is studying downstream pathways that are responsible for inflammation, cancer progression and maintenance.
- Targeting Aurora kinase A for pancreatic cancer therapy. Aurora kinase A is upregulated in pancreatic cancer. He is evaluating the role of Aurora kinase A in pancreatic cancer using genetic and pharmacological approaches.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Ji's studies may lead to novel therapeutic and preventive strategies for pancreatic inflammation and cancer.