Joseph Cullen
Professor
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Research Summary

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States and is increasing in incidence; the prognosis remains dismal.  We propose to investigate an entirely new approach, using pharmacological ascorbate (P-AscH-) as an adjuvant to standard of care treatments to treat PDAC, which we feel will inform and improve the design of future clinical studies. I serve on the NCI required committee that evaluates the scientific merit of investigator initiated trials in the NCI-accredited Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa. Our work (R01CA184501 “Pharmacological ascorbate as a radiosensitizer in pancreatic cancer“) demonstrates P-AscH- radiosensitization of pancreatic tumors, radioprotection of normal cells and tissues, and the completion of a phase I trial demonstrating the safety of administering high-dose, P-AscH- during concurrent gemcitabine-radiation therapy for the treatment of locally advanced PDAC. In addition, I am the principal investigator on the P01 CA217797, which investigates inhibition of metastases utilizing P-AscH- in PDAC. This proposal involves excellent collaboration with experts in the field.