Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

First Advisor

Dr. Subhash Chauhan

Second Advisor

Dr. Sheema Khan

Third Advisor

Dr. Murali Yallapu


Pancreatic Cancer is the 3rd lethal causing cancers in United States with a survival rate less than 5-7%. In advanced unresectable pancreatic cancer, treatment options are restrained to surgery because of its extreme aggressiveness. Immunotherapy, one of the current advanced treatments has shown promising response in other cancers. However, this therapy is limited in pancreatic cancer due to desmoplasia and fibrotic tumor microenvironment (TME).

Our superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONS) of curcumin (Curcuma longa, principal curcuminoid of turmeric) have potential ability to inhibit desmoplasia and tumor stroma with an increased bioavailability. This would soften up the tumors for therapies resulting in improved response to immune checkpoint therapies. Development of this novel combination therapy with (a) MUC13 conjugated SPION formulation of curcumin and (b) Checkpoint inhibitors (PDL-1, CTLA-4) has shown less tumor progression when compared to alone treatments in in-vitro and in-vivo studies. This could alleviate morbidity and mortality caused by the disease.


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