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A. A Cell Signaling Pathway Linked to Pancreatic Cancer

Narrator: This is Science Today. A cell signaling pathway active during embryonic development has been linked to pancreatic cancer - one of the fourth leading causes of cancer deaths in this country. Matthias Hebrok of the University of California, San Francisco, says this signaling pathway is known as the Hedgehog pathway - a name derived from its spiky physical appearance.

Hebrok: The Hedgehog signaling pathway has been implicated in cancer and we had early on information that it is expressed in specific tissue that are believed to give rise to adenocarcinoma, the prevalent pancreatic cancer.

Narrator: Using human cell lines, the researchers demonstrated that pancreatic cancer growth could be halted by chemically blocking the Hedgehog pathway.

Hebrok: What I really hope for is that eventually Hedgehog inhibitors will become part of a cocktail either with already existing chemotherapeutical treatment options that are not very good for pancreatic cancer or with novel ones that will help to at least give patients hope.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.