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NDSU Assistant Professor Publishes Paper

Fargo, N.D. — Erxi Wu, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences at NDSU, co-wrote the review article, “The paracrine Sonic Hedgehog signaling derived from tumor epithelial cells: A key regulator in the pancreatic tumor microenvironment,” which has been accepted by Critical Reviews in Eukaryotic Gene Expression.

According to the authors, activation of the Hedgehog signaling pathway is involved in embryo development and tumorigenesis. While normal pancreatic tissue exhibits little Hedgehog pathway activity, patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma have high levels of Hedgehog pathway signaling in both the tumor epithelia and the surrounding stromal tissue. Hedgehog ligands expressed by pancreatic cancers promote tumor growth indirectly by activating Hedgehog signaling in the surrounding stroma. This paracrine activation of Hedgehog signaling in the tumor microenvironment provides a more favorable environment for tumor cellular proliferation, metastasis and resistance to therapy. Taken together, these findings are of valuable implications for the use of Hedgehog pathway inhibitors currently in development and inhibition of the Hedgehog pathway paracrine loop in pancreatic cancer.

The paper was co-written with Qingyong Ma lab at Xi’an Jiaotong University, China.  The journal Critical Reviews in Eukaryotic Gene Expression presents timely concepts and experimental approaches that are contributing to rapid advances in our mechanistic understanding of gene regulation, organization and structure within the contexts of biological control and the diagnosis/treatment of disease. The journal provides critical reviews, on well-defined topics of immediate interest, written by recognized specialists in the field.

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