Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers with nearly 42,000 people dying of the disease each year. The cause is unknown, and it’s often difficult to detect in its early stages. Some environmental risk factors are known, including smoking, drinking, diet, and exposure to environmental chemicals. One such chemical is perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a persistent environmental chemical that has not only been found to cause pancreatic cancer in rodents, but is also seen in the blood of all residents of the U.S.
[Photo: Dr. Barbara Hocevar]
To further determine the influence of PFOA in the development of pancreatic cancer, IU School of Public Health-Bloomington Associate Professors Dr. Barbara Hocevar and Dr. Lisa Kamendulis and IU School of Medicine Senior Research Professor Dr. George Sandusky are starting an innovative study in mice to identify the biological pathways and doses at which PFOA begins to promote pancreatic cancer. The goal of the study, which is being funded through a $471,000 National Institutes of Health R15 award, is to aid in the development of strategies to prevent pancreatic cancer and aid in the evaluation of the risk of exposure to this chemical.
Dr. Hocevar earned a PhD at Case Western Reserve University and completed post doctoral training at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. She has taught at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington since 2011, and has served on the school’s Academic Council, Masters of Public Health Leadership Committee and is the Concentration Coordinator for the Masters of Public Health in Environmental Health.
Dr. Kamendulis completed her PhD at the University of New Mexico, and did post-doctoral work in Indiana University’s Department of Pathology, and in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Her research is focused on the cellular and molecular mechanisms for disease development and progression.
Drs. Hocevar, Kamendulis and Sandusky are members of the Pancreatic Cancer Signature Center at the IU Simon Cancer Center.