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Kelly Foley

Class 2008
Education BS, Northeastern University

Dr. Liz Jaffee

Dr. Lei Zheng

Current Position Research Program Coordinator

Johns Hopkins University

Research Interests

Investigation into the biological function of AnnexinA2 and its role in metastasis of pancreatic cancer

Due to the rapid progression of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) and the limitations of therapy, there is an urgency to identify new treatments for this disease. We have identified AnnexinA2 (AnxA2), a calcium-dependent phospholipid binding protein, as a potential PDA tumor target. AnxA2 is overexpressed in PDA, with expression increasing during the progression from pre-malignant PanINs to PDA. Although the biological function of AnxA2 is not fully known, AnxA2 has been shown to function in cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions, indicating a potential role in metastasis of PDA. Due to the desmoplastic reaction that occurs in pancreatic cancer, resulting in the tumor being comprised of 60-90% stromal cells, we believe AnxA2 may interact with secreted stromal factors to initiate invasion and metastasis of PDA cells. My thesis project is focused on understanding the role of AnxA2 in the pathogenesis of PDA, as well as to uncover stromal mediators of AnxA2 that may contribute to disease progression and metastasis.